A project helping fisherman reduce the level of marine litter is set to expand in Scotland as new Government funding has been announced.
Set up in 2004 by international local authority body Kimo and starting in Scotland the following year, the Fishing for Litter project provides participating fishing vessels with bags where they can dispose of rubbish they catch in their nets.
The bags are then regularly collected from participating ports – of which there are 20 in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has announced a £180,000 funding boost for the project, in hopes of helping meet the target of increasing the number of participating vessels from 280 to at least 310, collecting 150 tonnes of litter and adding three more participating ports.
Some 1,844 tonnes of litter have been removed from Scottish seas since the project began.
Collection and disposal, staffing costs and educational materials will be covered by the new cash.
Announcing the move, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Marine litter is a global challenge and we are working nationally and internationally to address it.
“This funding demonstrates our commitment to reducing plastic pollution as part of a suite of wider measures which includes action on single-use plastic products.
“It also acknowledges the continued success of Kimo’s Fishing for Litter project and the role of our fishing industry in helping remove debris from our seas to support environmental and economic sustainability.”
Ms Gougeon went on to say climate change and biodiversity loss are the “greatest long-term challenges we are facing”.
She added: “We have prioritised actions in our Programme for Government to tackle marine litter and we are taking important steps to ensure the amount of litter entering the marine environment is minimised to bring ecological, economic and social benefits.
“As global leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for Cop26, we will seize the opportunity to share learning, demonstrate our shared ambition and drive forward essential change through genuine global partnership.”