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Representation in Ireland

Fishing for Litter tackles marine waste

Fishermen in Ireland have hauled nearly 400 tonnes of marine litter in their fishing nets since 2015 under the Fishing for Litter campaign. That’s equivalent to two Statues of Liberty; 300 cars or one Endeavour space shuttle!     

Irish fishermen taking part in the Fishing for Litter initiative

The importance of tackling marine waste

“Up to 80% of marine waste is made up of plastic, which doesn’t fully break down,” says Pauline Ní Luanaigh of Bord Iascaigh Mhara. “It’s growing in volume and threatening our oceans and shorelines.” 

Fishing for Litter aims to reduce waste in the oceans by giving fishing boats reusable bags to collect plastics, debris and other marine litter that gathers in their nets during their normal fishing activities. They unload the bags of litter at the port, which is then recycled or disposed of on land.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency, is leading the voluntary Fishing for Litter scheme in Ireland, as part of the wider Clean Oceans Initiative. This helps to address the serious problem of marine waste in our oceans.

BIM works closely with members of the fishing and wider seafood sector to help reduce, retrieve and reuse marine litter.

The scheme aims to raise awareness of the need to protect Ireland’s marine environment against the serious problem of plastics and other waste in our seas.


EU support

The Clean Oceans Initiative and Fishing for Litter campaign are funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The scheme underpins EU legislation supporting the protection of the marine environment under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The project has expanded from the original scheme in the Netherlands, to a Europe-wide strategy. “The fund provides on-board storage facilities and on-shore infrastructure for disposal of all waste recovered at sea.

With 224 boats and 12 harbour ports registered, Fishing for Litter has helped to bring about more awareness and industry engagement.”