South Scotland

Marine litter scheme success marked in Eyemouth

World War Two mine Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption A World War Two mine is among the items which have been removed under the scheme

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead has been visiting Eyemouth to mark 800 tonnes of rubbish being removed from Scotland's seas over the last 10 years.

It has been carried out through the Fishing for Litter project.

The voluntary scheme allows boats to land marine litter they have caught in their nets.

It also "aims to change practices to prevent litter reaching the marine environment in the first place".

Items including a washing machine, tumble drier, a World War Two mine and a curling stone have been removed from Scottish waters over the past decades.

The latest phase of the project hopes to maintain the existing network of 14 Fishing for Litter harbours but will also seek to involve additional harbours, and increase the number of vessels taking part in the project.

Buckie is set to become the latest port to join the scheme.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Eyemouth harbour has been part of the scheme for the past 10 years

Mr Lochhead said: "Litter is a blight on Scotland's communities and coastlines, tarnishing our beautiful landscapes and harming our wildlife and natural assets.

"Much of this litter ends up on Scotland's coastline which is damaging to our precious marine environment and harmful to our wildlife.

"It is also a major eyesore with waste often visible on our beaches and in our waters."

He said the Fishing for Litter scheme was "making a real difference".

Graham Humphries, of KIMO which runs the project, said he hoped it could expand in years to come.

Environmental impact

"Looking to the future, further funding remains vitally important to allow for the continued growth of the project and to keep our seas clean," he said.

Eyemouth harbour has been participating in the Fishing for Litter scheme since 2005 with nine registered fishing vessels, in that time they have collected 8.5 tonnes of waste from the sea.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "Marine litter costs Scotland an estimated £17m a year as a result of its impact on the environment, wildlife, industry and tourism.

"It's therefore great news that initiatives such as Fishing for Litter exist to help to address this problem.

"However, we should all be ashamed that so much waste is being dumped in our seas at all."

He said people needed to be encouraged not to dump rubbish in the first place.

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