Fishing for Litter News

Find out more what's going on at Fishing for Litter

Back row: Malcolm Bell, Jan Joris Midavaine, Ryan Metcalfe, Kevin Sutherland, Ross Sutherland, Gary Sandison, Robert Sandison, Calum Grains, Rick Nickerson Front row: Faron McLellan, Robert te Beest and Grioghair McCord

New dedicated Fishing For Litter skips have been installed at Lerwick and Scalloway harbours to mark 15 years of the highly successful project.

To raise awareness of the voluntary scheme, which is run by KIMO International and removes around 120 tonnes of marine litter, mainly plastics, from Scottish waters every year, new-look Fishing For Litter flags for participating vessels have also been unveiled.

FFL UK coordinator, Faron McLellan together with the crew of fishing vessel LK 985 “Copious” in Scalloway Harbour. New vessel flags complement the FFL ‘Big Bags’ making participation in the scheme more visible

Shetland Fishermen’s Association and the isles fishing community have been strong supporters of the project since its inception. SFA policy officer Sheila Keith said:

"Public awareness of the need to remove plastics from our seas is currently very high. 

Our fishermen embraced the Fishing For Litter scheme when it was established in 2004 and we expect that future generations of fishermen will be as keen to participate. 

Fishing boats are given large 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."

The crew of the LK59 ‘Arcturus’ together with representatives from Shetland Fishermen’s Association and KIMO in Lerwick harbour

Grioghair McCord of KIMO, whose secretariat is based in Shetland with the Shetland Islands Council, said:

"All the fishermen who participate in the project are volunteers. On a daily basis, they are out at sea removing rubbish from the ocean. Result? Cleaner seas, cleaner beaches and a healthier marine environment.

Over the years this project has continually proven to be a very practical and cost-effective way to reduce marine litter.

It is with great pride that KIMO reaffirms our commitment to working with the fishing industry in Shetland to create healthy, sustainable seas to the benefit of all."

Plastic bottles, pallet strapping, ropes, a rubber ball and a wellington boot. Just some of the items that are removed from the ocean by the Fishing For Litter project.

Posted on: 15th May, 2019

Fishing For Litter Scotland Shortlisted for a Scottish Rural Award 2019

Fishing for Litter was been selected as one of 11 finalists for Scottish Rural Awards 2019 'Conservation and the Environment' award. This is great recognition of the hard work that continues to be done by our fishermen, ports and harbours.  Wish us luck for March 21st when the winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

Posted on: 9th February, 2019

Help Fishing for Litter get better!!

KIMO UK is working hard to improve your Fishing for Litter experience.  Tim Luck, an MSc student, is carrying out important, practical, research that will help us identify what we need to do next.  Please take a few moments to complete his questionnaire:

Fishing for Litter Survey 2017 

Posted on: 14th June, 2017

Scottish Fishermen Land 1000th Tonne of Marine Litter

Reaching the milestone was celebrated at Peterhead Port on Friday, 6th January 2017  Almost 1/3 of the litter has been landed there and Stephen Paterson, Deputy Chief Executive of Peterhead Port, welcomed a group of stakeholders (including Skipper Jimmy Buchan and George and Sandy Watt from Peterhead Port - part of the team of 250+ fishermen and port staff who are responsible for the success of the project) to Peterhead to mark the occasion.



Professor Colin Moffat - Head of Marine Science - attended on behalf of the Scottish Government and gave a fascinating insight into the damage done by marine litter and why projects like Fishing for Litter are so important. 

KIMO UK's board were out in force with Cllr George Farlow travelling from Ullapool joining Cllr Fiona McRae and our Chair, Cllr Raymond Christie.  Raymond said "Reaching this milestone is a great achievement and I would like to thank all of the crews and harbour staff who took part for their fantastic efforts to help protect our precious marine environment and shoreline.

Although unable to attend, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunninghame, said "Marine litter is a very serious issue both for Scottish seas and across the global oceans.  It is shown to harm wildlife and the natural environment whilst impacting on our marine industries through damage to subsea and coastal infrastructure, vessels and fishing gear.

The Fishing for Litter Project  supports the Scottish Government's commitment to tackling the issue of marine litter through our Marine Litter Strategy and I would like to congratulate KIMO on their success in reaching this milestone.  I would also like to take the opportunity to commend those fishermen who are participating and making a real difference in cleaning up Scotland's seas."

Attending the event, Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, added "Our north-east coastline provides a livelihood for thousands of people, as well as providing a habitat for countless species of marine lifestyle.  Therefore, it's our duty to protect it and I applaud our local fishermen for going above and beyond to remove as much litter from our waters."

 Here's to the next 1000!! 

Posted on: 9th January, 2017

Fishing For Litter Scotland shortlisted in The Ocean Awards 2017

Fishing for Litter was been selected as one of two finalists for The Ocean Awards 2017 'Saefarers' award. This is great recognition of the hard work that continues to be done by our fishermen, ports and harbours  Wish us luck for January 11th when the winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony in London.

On the night, the project was pipped to the post by Land Rover-Ben Ainslie Racing's Ocean Racing team for their work on for doing the right thing in an insanely competitive sport by having the best sustainability strategy among the America’s Cup teams.  Well done to them.

Posted on: 29th September, 2016

FFL Scotland awarded EMFF Grant

Fishing for Litter Scotland's future has been secured until at least 31 March 2017 by this award from EMFF.  KIMO UK's Chair, Cllr Raymond Christie said " This is great news and gives us the space we need to seek funding a further phase of Fishing for Litter and prepare for an expansion in participation". 

Gaining support from EMFF is further demonstration that this is a valuable initiative and recognises the effort of the fishermen and port staff in collecting almost 1000 tonnes of marine litter so far.

Posted on: 18th August, 2016

Posted on: 8th August, 2016

Crown Estate Stewardship Programme

The Crown Estates support projects that generate value and strengthen relationships across core sectors. These partnerships deliver lasting benefits to the local communities and environments in which they operate. Check out their Stewardship Programme at

Posted on: 4th May, 2016

10 Years of Fishing for Litter

KIMO UK's award winning Fishing for Litter initiative has celebrated 10 years of working with the fishing industry to help keep our seas safe and pollution free.

Set up as a project in 2005, after trialling as part of the Save the North Sea project, Fishing for Litter is now operated by KIMO UK in Scotland and the South West of England. Similar projects operate in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Holderness Coast and North Devon. All of these projects have joined KIMO UK's Fishing for Litter Coordinators' forum and share best practice and experiences to ensure we all get the best out of the effort of our fishermen and harbours.

To give you a flavour of what we have been doing, here is a summary of Fishing for Litter in Scotland during 2015.

Posted on: 21st January, 2016

New Funding from the Retail Sector

Partners at John Lewis Aberdeen give Fishing for Litter Scotland its first funds from the Scottish Bag Charge

Marine litter kills thousands of sea birds, fish and mammals every year and is an eyesore on our beaches. Plastic bags are a particular problem because turtles mistake them for jelly fish and once eaten they can have dire consequence for the turtle.

Fishing for Litter Scotland has been assisting fishermen to remove litter from our seas for 10 years. With more 850 hundred tonnes of marine litter from Scotland’s seas and landed at participating ports around the coast, the project has already made a significant difference. As well helping the fishermen to land the litter that they catch, the project aims to raise awareness of the problems created by marine litter.

Partners at the John Lewis store in Aberdeen have voted to give Fishing for Litter Scotland £2772 from funds raised from the 5p/bag charge to help them with their efforts. Part of the money will be used to purchase education materials for use in local primary schools and to set up a pilot programme to encourage litter removal from beaches.

At an event in the store to present the cheque, Robert Garnish, Head of Branch at John Lewis Aberdeen commented “being a coastal city, I think the link between money raised by charging for carrier bags and working to reduce marine litter is something we can all relate to so I am delighted that Partners (staff) in Aberdeen have chosen to support Fishing for Litter Scotland. Whilst there will be a tangible benefit as a result of the funds raised, from an environmental perspective it has also been great to see a significant drop in the purchasing of new carrier bags over the past 9 months.”

Download the full Press Release here

Posted on: 20th January, 2016