The Fishing for Litter Scheme, once started as a small local initiative of three Dutch ports, celebrates its 20th anniversary today! Coming full circle, the celebrations took place in the city where it started: Den Helder.
In 2016 the Fishing for Litter scheme was adopted by OSPAR and included in its Regional Action Plan. Next, in 2019, it was included as “passively fished waste” in the new European Port Reception Facility Directive. As of 2022 this Directive will come into force nationally and will apply to all EU coastal Member States.
As part of the celebration a newly designed anniversary ‘Big Bag’ was presented in a symbolic act to mark Fishing for Litter’s history and its enduring success. During the EU Maritime Days, KIMO Netherlands and Belgium’s president, Sebastian Dinjens, and executive secretary, Mike Mannaart, passed the special edition ‘Big Bag’ from the local level to national level by handing it to Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. Next, it was passed to the EU level, represented by EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries: Virginijus Sinkevičius. Both politicians praised the importance and impact of the scheme.
Fishing for Litter’s success is made possible because of the joint efforts of fishers, ports, waste collectors and local, regional and national authorities. The scheme currently operates in 9 EU Member States already, and more countries will be joining shortly. Happy anniversary to ‘Fishing for Litter’ and hearty congratulations to KIMO Netherlands and Belgium.