65 tonnes of rubbish fished out of the North Sea by Flemish fishermen in 2021

Last year our region’s fishermen fished a record 65 tonnes of waste out of the North Sea. This is more than thrice the amount of rubbish caught at sea by Flemish fishermen in 2020. The news that more and more rubbish is being fished out of the sea was the subject of a press conference given by the Federal Minister responsible for the North Sea Vincent Van Quickenborne. 

The ‘Fishing for Litter’ project involves Flemish fishermen collect all the litter that ends up in their nets. The rubbish is then weighed and registered in the harbour, before it is disposed of.

Mr Van Quickenborne told journalists that “In 2021, three times more litter was fished from the sea than the year before. It shows that our fishermen are committed to keeping our North Sea clean. Everyone must realise that dumping litter is not alright. Sooner or later, a lot of litter will end up in the sea via streams, rivers and sewers.”

The Fishing for Litter’ project was launched in  Belgium in 6 years ago. Belgian fishermen that are taking part in the project can leave the waste they catch at other participating ports in other European countries.

The issue of rubbish floating about in our seas is growing. In 2017 our country’s fishermen brought 2 tonnes of rubbish to the quayside. This increase to 2.2 tonnes in 2018, 10 tonnes in 2019 and 17.7 tonnes in 2020. 

Now to encourage more fishermen to take part in the scheme the Central Fisherman’s Office and the Federal Government have launched a smartphone app for participating fishermen. Participation is entirely voluntary. 


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