Fishing For Litter Scotland

Fishing for Litter is one of the most innovative and successful projects to tackle marine litter at sea, the simple initiative aims to reduce marine litter by engaging one of the key stakeholders, the fishing industry. It raises awareness of marine litter within the fishing industry, local communities and with school children.

The 2017 to 2020 project's main aims are:

  1. To increase the number of participating boats to 300
  2. To increase the number of participating harbours around Scotland to 20
  3. To land an additional 330 tonnes of marine litter

The project has been run in four, three-year phases since 2005. This current phase (2017-2020) has ambitious targets and these can only be reached by the enthusiastic participation of the Scottish fishermen and harbours.

Here is the Final Report for Fishing For Litter Scotland 2014-2017.

Scottish Harbours

There are 20 harbours currently participating and providing cost free landing facilities for marine litter from fishing vessels. They encompass the whole of the Scottish coastline and are (anti-clockwise): Eyemouth, Dunbar, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Macduff, Buckie, Scrabster, Lerwick, Cullivoe, Scalloway, Kinlochbervie, Lochinver, Ullapool, Mallaig, Tarbert, Rothesay, Campbeltown, Troon, Isle of Whithorn and Kirkcudbright.


Over 200 vessels have registered to participate in the project. Whilst the majority of the litter is landed at Peterhead, Scrabster and Ullapool (the largest ports), the project engages with vessels of all sizes from right round the coastline to provide support and encourage best practice.

Tonnage of Litter Collected

Since the start of the project in 2005, more than 1,600 tonnes of marine litter has been landed. This equates to more than 3 Olympic sized swimming pools full. Much of this is plastic (88%). The current phase of the project aimed to increase this total to more than 1,400 tonnes by March 2020 - a target which has now been reached!



Total number of tonnes of marine litter collected by Scottish member vessels



Harbours participating in Scotland


Number of vessels signed up to the scheme in Scotland


Organisations and funds that have sponsored the project to date (2008 - 2018) are shown below.

The project has secured sufficient funding to enable it to continue until March 2021. We are currently seeking new funding partners to enable the project to continue beyond that date.



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