The 'Fishing For Litter' project has seen an increasing number of fishing vessels bringing the waste that ends up in their fishing nets back to land for recycling.
The project was launched in 2016, with the goal of encouraging Belgian fishers to deposit litter in a bag and deliver it to a waste processor rather than throwing it overboard.
Whilst it is done on a voluntary basis rather than being a legal requirement, popularity for the scheme has grown in recent years.
- European Commission approves state aid for Flemish fishing industry
- New federal action plan launches to reduce marine litter
Fishermen brought 17.7 tonnes of waste ashore in 2020, up from two tonnes in 2017. The Shipowners' Federation and the Federal Government then agreed to increase their efforts to raise awareness about the project.
As a result, a smartphone app was developed for those participating in the project, where they could register the type of waste they would bring ashore.
The following year, in 2021, 37 fishing vessels took part and collected a total of 65 tonnes of waste.
To that end, a congratulatory event was held today in Zeebrugge for all participating shipping companies and fishers, in the presence of North Sea Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD).