Minister for Marine Michael Creed has paid tribute to Irish trawler owners who have signed up to the State’s “fishing for litter” scheme.
Mr Creed said that 96 per cent of trawlers in the fleet have registered to participate, as in 168 boats, along with 56 other vessels.
All 12 ports are involved in the “Clean Oceans” initiative which is run by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).
By this year’s third quarter, 150 tonnes of marine plastic waste was collected from the 12 fishing ports and 54 tonnes of used fishing nets have been collected for recycling by BIM’s mobile shredder, named the “Green Machine”.
“Fishermen have risen to the challenge I set for them early this year and I am sincerely thrilled that 96% of our trawlers are now signed up and onboard, but we need to get every single trawler on-board for this,”Mr Creed said.
When he initiated the scheme last January in Union Hall, Co Cork, Mr Creed called for the entire trawler fleet to sign up by December 31st of this year.
"There are over 2,000 vessels in the Irish fleet"
There are over 2,000 vessels in the Irish fleet, the vast majority of which are multi-purpose and range from smaller inshore boats to whitefish vessels.
“ I’m delighted that the fisheries producer organisations endorsed this Initiative and are encouraging their members to sign up and get involved,” Mr Creed added.
Protecting oceans is one of 17 “global goals” that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Applicants can sign up online at http://www.bim.ie/fishing-for-litter/ or by contacting BIM at telephone (01)2144100.