Cuttings of rope, cord and nets have a significant impact on our marine environment. We work with fishermen to tackle this form of plastic pollution.
Fishing nets and ropes account for 28% of all beach litter around the North East Atlantic. That means that almost one in three pieces of rubbish found on northern European beaches comes from the fishing industry, much of it from net cuttings.
The primary source of this kind of waste in the North Sea is from trawl net repairs. Fishermen fix nets at sea or on the quayside in port by cutting away damaged sections. This creates net cuttings, which can find their way into the sea through lack of awareness, habit or carelessness.
If not quickly removed from deck, storms, high winds, waves, rainwater, or crew cleaning can sweep cuttings into the sea.
Cuttings can also fall onto the fishing nets on board and get trapped, dropping into the sea when the net is rolled up on the boat or rolled out during regular fishing activities. They can also fall into the water when nets are transferred from the quay to the boat, or when new nets are taken in use, as waste pieces from manufacturing can become trapped in the netting.
After consulting with fishermen in four countries, KIMO has developed best practice recommendations. Examples come primarily from the results of a survey undertaken by KIMO at harbours, and from feedback from face-to-face dialogue with harbour staff and fishers.
The recommendations demonstrate some of the most simple, practical and inexpensive ways in which fishers and harbour authorities can cut pollution. Implementing these practices will reduce the negative impacts caused by this waste to our marine environment and economy.