Polish fishers lead the way on ghost nets

147 tons of marine litter fished from the Baltic:

Polish small-scale fishers show leadership in dealing with ghost nets

Warsaw, 16th of January 2018

Marcin Ruciński

Fishing gears lost at sea and their impact on the marine environment are subject to numerous research and actions globally. One of the most successful projects in this respect , “Clean Baltic”, is being finalized along Poland’s coastal waters including the Lagoons, with the involvement of over 500 small-scale fishers.

3 LIFE Polish Member Organizations got involved in this large-scale project. The latter was developed thanks to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund monies made available to Poland as part of the “Fisheries and the Sea 2014-2020” Operational Programme. We are glad to see that EU subsidies have been used for a universally positive purpose – improve the state of the marine environment where Polish small-scale fishers operate, while also benefitting other sea users.

The fishers retrieved a total of just under 147 tons of waste. Most retrieved fishing gears were gillnets, but trawls, trap nets, lines and pots were also fished out. The retrieved nets contained fish and other marine organisms, such as birds and mussels and even one dead grey seal. The project was not confined to fishing gears only and fishers took out many other objects, such as buoys, Styrofoam, boxes, lines, tires, remains of steel elements, as well as smaller waste such as gloves and plastic bags.

LIFE is proud to be part of the project, and we take the opportunity to thank all those involved – the fishers and their organizations, the MARE foundation (http://fundacjamare.pl) and administration bodies. But most importantly, we are pleased to witness the strong involvement of the fishers in the project activities, and their feeling of co-responsibility for the state of marine environment, including fish stocks, on which their livelihoods depend.

See the fishermen in action below !