UK fishing fleet backed by Orsted to help clean up North Sea marine litter

24 January, 2023
UK fishing fleet backed by Orsted to help clean up North Sea marine litter
Offshore wind giant Orsted is giving the UK fishing fleet the tools to help in a last line of defence against marine litter.

Starting in Grimsby and including East Coast ports further south, it is building on its groundbreaking WWF partnership and other initiatives aimed at stimulating and sustaining biodiversity in the waters it builds in.

Fishing for Litter, run by Danish-founded local authorities international environmental organisation KIMO UK, is described as a unique project, aimed at reducing plastic pollution. Described as simple but effective, participating vessels are given hardwearing bags to collect marine litter caught while fishing. On return to port, they are disposed of in dedicated skips - with all items provided by the project.

Orsted’s fishing industry representatives, who have well established and often long-term relationships with fishers working within the vicinity of the company’s wind farms, act as liaison officers. It was instigated with a questionnaire, circulated through the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation and Holderness Fishing Industry Group. They found that providing bins and skips on quaysides would be the best solution.

Lara Leonard, commercial fisheries manager at Orsted, said: “Our aim is to provide long term action and to work alongside fishing communities to help them be at the forefront of the fight against marine litter. Over the past couple of years, we’ve been engaging directly with fishers and fishing organisations to make sure that we can facilitate an effective and functional solution which works for them. Our main focus is to aid and empower fishers to make a difference, while also building on the positive relations with the fishing community who work within or near to our wind farm sites.”

Disposal facilities will be provided at up to six ports along the east of England for the 30-year lifespan of Hornsea Three, through which it is being funded. The west coast and north into Yorkshire are also being looked at, with recycling options being explored.

Julia Cant, KIMO UK administrator and Fishing for Litter project coordinator, said: “Orsted’s support provides a long term commitment to annual costs, helping KIMO to realise its ambitions both to expand the scheme more widely around the UK and to ensure that as much marine waste as possible is disposed of responsibly through recycle/reuse. Hornsea Three’s lifetime commitment to support Fishing for Litter will help secure the project’s future, contributing directly to a reduction in the amount of marine litter in our oceans and an increased awareness of the ecological, environmental and economic impacts that it causes. “We have received an extremely positive response and great support in all harbours visited, which has been very encouraging and it has been tremendous to see the Fishing for Litter grow as such pace.”
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