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.