Humans Going Green.

European Union pilots ‘trash for cash’ for Mediterranean  fishermen.

by Triple Pundit:

Plastics in the ocean. Google images.

European Union’s fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki, revealed new plans to pay fishermen to catch plastic trash in order to solve the simultaneously detrimental issues of decreasing fish stocks and the buildup of plastic debris in European fishing waters. A pilot project will begin this month in the Mediterranean whereby fishermen will be given the proper net equipment to collect accumulated plastic detritus that is impacting marine life and then have it be recycled.

Damanaki commented on the issue in her blog, “Preserving the Mediterranean Sea is not only a matter of environmental sustainability. It is also a matter of considerable economic and social implications.”

At first, EU member states will subsidize the program, with hopes that it will eventually become a profit-making enterprise for participating fishing fleets as their earnings increase from the growing worth of recycled plastics.

This plan came as welcome news to some fishermen indignant over the EU fisheries commissioner’s recent proposal to ban the discarding of edible fish at sea. The practice of discarding is commonplace — two thirds of fish, typically dead already, are thrown back due to fishing fleets surpassing their quota or putting precedence on higher value fish.

In addition to providing a second source of income for fishermen — much needed in a time of ever-diminishing fish stocks — this plan will help save the lives of fish and other marine life. It’s no news that plastic debris in our seas and oceans harm marine life when they consume non-biodegradable plastic material. Plastic waste not only hurts the fish, but can also cause damage to fishing gear and contaminate catch, which is why it would seem to be in fishermen’s own best interest to address this matter and even be a major part of the solution

Programs such as the EU’s Mediterranean trial are already in existence, but only on a voluntary basis, such as KIMO’s Fishing for Litter Campaign, which just recently hit the mark of having removed 200 tons of plastic detritus from the North Sea by 162 fishing vessels. Participating fishing boats eliminate the litter from their nets, bring it ashore, and KIMO has it disposed of responsibly.

Triple Pundit

If the program takes off, fishermen might have some lobbying power in Congress/Parliaments all over the world.