Photo of the week: Fishing for litter


Local fishing vessels are bringing trash caught in their nets back to shore, as an impressive pile of rubbish in Zeebrugge harbour showed this week

Voluntary clean-up

Paint cans, ropes, beach towels, cables, bicycles, a “half a cow” and endless varieties of plastic bottles and jugs. Those are just a few of the items brought up out of the oceans by Flemish fishing boats every day as part of the Fishing for Litter project.

The European initiative recruits fishermen to help in the effort to clean up the seas by asking them to bring back any trash they catch in their nets. They provide them with bags to place the items in and ask them to then bring them back to shore.

The bags stuffed with waste are placed on designated spots in harbours, and Fishing for Litter personnel pick it up, sort it and either send it to recycling centres or for disposal on land. The project was presented in Zeebrugge this week (pictured) to try to convince more Belgian fishing vessels to take part.

“You can’t even imagine how much stuff is floating in the ocean,” one fisherman at the event told VRT. “Everything, just everything.”

Usually fishermen just throw anything they catch in their nets besides fish back into the sea. Fishing for Litter is asking them to bring it back to shore on a purely volunteer basis. “We see that our fishermen are prepared to make the effort,” Sander Meyns of fishing association Rederscentrale told VRT, “to bring the rubbish voluntarily and without compensation back to shore.”

Photo: Maaike Tijssens/BELGA