More than 50 tonnes of fishing nets have been collected from harbours around the north and north-east of Scotland in an effort to tidy up the country’s coastline.
The Net Recycling Scotland project, which is overseen by North Sea local authorities body Kimo, shipped some of the old equipment to Lithuania this week to be put back into use.
The huge piles collected to date since the scheme was launched last summer came from Peterhead, Macduff, Ullapool and Scrabster. Much of it has already be recycled into plastic in Denmark.
Project coordinator Graham Humphries said: “We have been working very hard to make this project happen. This load of nets will be used as a test to ensure that the route from Scotland’s fishing ports all the way to the production of plastic pellets that can be used in the manufacture of new products is secure and affordable.”
Mr Humphries praised the Macduff harbour master Duncan Mackie for implementing the scheme at the Banffshire port.
Christina Dixon, campaigns manager at World Animal Protection, said: “This is a great example of a circular economy solution to the problem of waste fishing nets and we fully support Kimo’s ambition to scale and replicate this model for the benefit of marine animals around Scotland.”
Macduff harbour is also a member of Kimo’s Fishing for Litter scheme. With 18 harbours and more than 200 fishing vessels participating, the project – which has been backed by high-profile Peterhad trawlerman Jimmy Buchan – has removed more than 1,000 tonnes of marine litter from Scotland’s waters since 2005.
The initiative encourages skippers of trawlers to land litter they catch in their nets during their normal fishing activities by removing barriers to landing the litter at participating harbours.