Fishermen operating out of Kilmore Quay have signed up to Bord Iascaigh Mhara's 'Fishing for Litter' campaign, a new initiative aimed at improving waste management.
The fleet consists of 15 large vessels and up to 30 inshore vessels. The Fishing for Litter programme sees boats issued with reusable waste bags. During the course of their fishing activities, any litter or waste collected in the nets is placed in the bag.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) will also provide an onshore skip for the waste to be collected in before being taken away by a licenced waste contractor.
Engagement with the harbour master is a critical part of the project. Vessels will inform the harbour that they have marine litter coming ashore at the end of their trip. Filled bags are returned to the quayside and moved to secure skips ready for responsible disposal.
Kilmore Quay will be the eleventh port around Ireland operating the new campaign.
Harbour Master, Captain Phil Murphy said the project was in its initial stages in Kilmore Quay with the receptacles having recently been installed.
'We're happy to be involved and the fishermen are engaging with it very well. People sometimes are quick to say that waste at sea has to have been generated at sea but a lot of the time that's not the case at all, so much of it is generated on land.'
As part of the initiative, litter brought in from the ocean will be separated and put into the BIM receptacle and, through partnership with UCC it will be analysed with the hope being to profile the type of material being found and, if possible, where it is originating from.'
The second part of the process is to identify materials that can be either reused or recycled.
Capt Murphy said: 'Ocean litter is a big buzz topic at the moment and rightly so. Hopefully we can get some proper statistics from this initiative that will open people's eyes to the problem.'