Local fishermen are committed to minimising marine litter at sea

November 8th, 2019 10:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

Smart net management was the focus of the BIM and ISWFPO workshop in Castletownbere. (Photo: Cathal Noonan)

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TRACKING the ‘journey’ of fishing gear from its entry into the market to its end of life ‘retirement’ was the purpose of a recent workshop in Castletownbere.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency, and the Irish South and West Fishermen’s Producers Organisation (ISWFPO) co-hosted the day-long event. 

It also looked at ways to better analyse and understand the source of marine litter brought ashore by the Irish catching fleet today.

New plastics and circular economy polices underpin emerging trends in sustainability. 

They require member states to minimise the impact of plastics on the environment and to increase the opportunities for used plastics to be recycled and retained instead of ending up on a landfill. 

A total of 224 fishing vessels are registered to the national programme, Fishing For Litter (FFL). This sees fishing vessels voluntarily collect and take ashore all marine litter they collect during normal fishing activities at sea, forms part of the wider Clean Oceans Initiative.  

To date, 49 vessels are registered to Fishing for Litter in the port of Castletownbere. This represents one fifth of the national fleet.

 Patrick Murphy of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFPO), from Castletownbere said: ‘The local determination to demonstrate their fishing gear management is outstanding. Other key stakeholders such as the harbour management, net makers are also behind the objective and are keen to help communicate and validate the responsible approach taken by the large majority in Castletownbere.’ 

The EU Commission is currently developing new ways to monitor and report fishing gear, from being placed on the market to its retirement. The Commission is also exploring ways to better analyse marine litter. The final report will be available in July 2020.

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