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Clean up campaign nets award

The Fishing for Litter campaign provides bags for fishermen to collect sea-borne rubbish and bring it ashore. Photo Kimo International

THE FISHING for Litter campaign which began in Shetland and now involves 200 fishing boats operating out of 15 Scottish ports won the marine conservation trophy at the RSPB’s Nature of Scotland Awards in Edinburgh.

Fishing for Litter was initiated 10 years ago by international environmental group KIMO when it was based in Lerwick and the Shetland fleet were the first boats to get involved.

Under the scheme trawlers collect any litter caught in their nets and land it on the quayside where it is disposed of by harbour staff, including in Lerwick, Scalloway and Cullivoe.

Earlier this year the Scottish branch of the international campaign celebrated landing its 800th tonne of marine-borne garbage since 2005, mostly plastic which can cause untold harm to marine life and eco systems.

Shetland Islands Council’s deputy leader Billy Fox, who sits on the KIMO board, said he was delighted the campaign had been recognised by the RSPB.

“Marine litter is one of the most significant global problems affecting the marine environment,” he said.

“I’m pleased that the KIMO organisation and Shetland ports and fishing vessels are making a positive contribution to reducing litter in our seas through this project, which benefits marine wildlife, our seafood industry and our coastline.”