Belgian fishermen bring 65 tonnes of rubbish ashore

Belgian fishermen brought 65 tonnes of rubbish ashore as part of Fishing for Litter last year. A threefold increase of the amount of waste compared to 2020.

Fishing for litter is a project through which fishermen in European ports help to clean up the sea. Instead of throwing back the waste that ends up in their nets, fishermen collect it. Once back on the quay, the bag is weighed, registered and transferred to the container park.

In Belgium, Fishing for Litter started in 2016. In 2017, Belgian fishermen brought 2 tonnes of waste ashore. That number increased year after year, ending last year at 65 tonnes of waste. The number of participating vessels also increased from 23 to 37 in one year.

"It shows that our fishermen are committed to keeping our North Sea clean. I would like to thank them for their efforts," said minister for the North Sea Vincent Van Quickenborne. But we cannot rest on our laurels", he warns. "What they catch is only a small part of the waste in our North Sea. Society as a whole must realise that dumping waste is not done.

The minister points to the efforts in raising awareness. The Shipping Company, which coordinates the project, has also launched a smartphone application for participating fishermen. This allows them to efficiently and without much loss of time identify what kind of waste they are bringing ashore where and when. "Our objective is to motivate the majority of the fleet in the short term to consistently take waste on board during each sea voyage and to register it correctly," says deputy director Sander Meyns of the Rederscentrale.






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