Dutch and Belgian North Sea fishermen participating in ‘Fishing for litter’ scheme are starting to see positive results from their efforts
The approximate 150 Dutch and Belgian North Sea fishermen participating in ‘Fishing for litter’ scheme are starting to see positive results from their efforts according to EMK.
Dutch and Belgian fishing vessels are landing less and less marine litter on the wharf, which fishermen see as a positive and a clear trend breaker after years of gathering waster during their fishing trips in the North Sea.
Langoustine fisherman Sander Meijer (NG21) said, “We fished about 45 miles north of Terschelling last week, a well-known ‘cutlet’ for langoustine fishermen. You can notice there that it has clearly become cleaner on most of the fishing grounds. Except around the traffic routes, where cruise ships, container ships and pleasure yachts sail. The mess we catch around those boat routes is still extensive. Especially the number of abandoned paint cans is high. “
Meijer sees a decrease elsewhere as well.
“There are fishing areas where we landed with six big bags full in the harbour for the first year. With a single big bag, it will stop now.
Urker flatfish fisherman Jan de Boer (UK-197) experiences the same: ‘We didn’t have a end this week. “
Oil cans, jerrycans, packaging, garbage bags, handcuffs, plastic soup containers, full and empty paint cans and old half-destroyed network. It’s unimaginable but this garbage lies in large quantities at the bottom of the sea. In the “Fishing for Litter project”, participating fishermen take caught litter to land, where it is taken in, drained, monitored and processed. Fishermen participate voluntarily and selflessly in order to clean up the sea.
For storing waste on the ship fishermen take big bags on board, provided by organisation KIMO Netherlands/België. Upon returning to the harbour, the fishermen place the big bag on the wharf where it is removed, processed and recycled by garbage collectors. In this way, the same garbage is prevented from being caught by fishermen or washed up on the beaches, where it would provide extra work for participants of the beach clean-up tour of the Noordzee Foundation.
In 2019, the fishermen of the then 134 participating boats and 13 ports collected another record amount of stray waste which collectively weighed in at 558,235 kilos. Around 2001, the first fishermen, among others from Den Helder, started fishing and putting sea waste on the quay. By now, there are garbage containers for North Sea garbage in almost all fishing ports.
The participating fishing companies do not receive compensation, which sometimes leads to annoyance. “On the other hand, it’s all for our own benefit,” says Jan de Boer. “What you pick up and take with you, another person will not pick up again. Cleaned up, looks neat. “
The fisherman from Urk has some concerns:
“Minister Staghouwer has launched a plan for the restructuring of the Dutch fishing fleet. As fishermen we say; the success of Fishing for Litter is just an extra reason to maintain the fishery as much as possible. “