KIMO representatives were in for a pleasant surprise when they turned up on a Saturday morning in March at the fish auction in the Dutch port of Vlissingen. Although some of the fishing boats from Vlissingen were already participating in the Fishing for Litter project, KIMO had organised an information session hoping to convince a few more fishermen to sign up to the scheme. What ensued exceeded our most optimistic forecasts.
Nearly all the fishermen from Vlissingen turned up. Only two were not present. This was a promising start. The Alderman of Vlissingen, John de Jonge, encouraged the fishermen to participate saying:
You’re doing this for yourself and for all of us
Once the presentation was over, all the fishermen present unanimously decided to sign up! This took the total of participating vessels in Vlissingen up to 15. The captains of the remaining two Vlissingen-based vessels were contacted after the weekend and they also decided to join, making it a full house (or is that harbour?) – the entire fishing fleet in Vlissingen will now be helping remove rubbish from the waters of the North Sea. This phenomenal response takes the total of participating vessels in the Dutch Fishing for Litter project from 96 to an all-time high of 113.
One of the older fishermen present at the gathering remarked on the culture shift that has taken place in the fishing industry during his lifetime. He said that when he started out as a fishermen 40 years ago, throwing items overboard was not frowned upon as it is now. The younger generation of fishermen are shifting attitudes within the industry towards more ecologically responsible models.
KIMO Netherlands and Belgium project coordinator, Jan Joris Midavaine, was extremely pleased with the result of the meeting, saying:
KIMO is the facilitator but it’s the fishermen who make Fishing for Litter a success
As with all Fishing for Litter projects, the waste landed at Vlissingen will be sorted and weighed. The majority of it will be recycled. Old fishing nets are transformed into socks and old ropes see a second life as swimsuits.
Watch out marine litter – we’re coming for you.