In 2004 KIMO International started a simple yet imaginative project to tackle the problem of marine litter. Fishing for Litter aims to reduce marine litter by involving one of the key stakeholders, the fishing industry.
Fishing boats are given big bags to collect the plastics, ghost gear and other debris that gathers in their nets during normal fishing activities. When the fishing boats come into port, they can unload the bags of litter. These bags are collected regularly and the rubbish is recycled or disposed of on land.
All the fishers who participate in the project are volunteers. On a daily basis, they are out at sea removing rubbish from the ocean. The initiative not only removes rubbish from the sea, it also raises awareness among fishers of the impact of marine litter and changes fishers’ waste-related behaviours while out at sea.
It is recognised by large international marine protection bodies including the European Commission (which highlights it as best practice), the United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (for the Barcelona Regional Sea Convention) and the OSPAR Regional Sea Convention, which actively encourages Contracting Parties to adopt similar schemes in their countries.