Toolkit: Derelict Fishing Gear Retrieval, Funding for your project, Motivations for project sponsors

See also: Applying for EU funding

As mentioned above, there might be various reasons for organisations to sponsor your project. This section provides key messages that you might want to emphasise when you first meet with potential sponsors of your project.

Why should public sector organisations (EU, national government, regional and local authorities, public waste management companies, tourism authorities) co-sponsor your project (financially or in-kind)?

  • EU Member States have the obligation to achieve ‘good environmental status’ for their marine areas by 2020 under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC). This includes the setting of binding targets on marine litter (including DFG) at the national level, which has happened to a varying degree (see Article 12 assessment report). In its Communication “Towards a circular economy” the Commission has set the aspirational target of 30% reduction by 2020 for the then most common types of litter found on beaches, as well as for fishing gear found at sea, with the list adapted to each of the four marine regions in the EU. Supporting a DFG retrieval initiative will help governments reaching these objectives. Check your national Marine Strategy (to be in place by 2015) for more concrete elements on the national agenda.
  • The Marine Strategy Framework Directive also aims to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. National, regional and local authorities have an interest in clean marine waters and shores since this will be beneficial for fishing activities, for the aquaculture sector, for the tourism sector as well as for the livelihoods of local coastal communities. Local authorities can avoid costs for cleaning up shorelines, ports, harbours.
  • Public authorities have a responsibility to protect common goods such as public health, safety and the environment. Marine litter is recognised as a growing global problem. Recent EU policy proposals on a circular economy refer to necessary action to achieve a significant reduction of marine litter – a commitment also made at the Rio+20 Conference in 2012 and in the 7th Environmental Action Plan. While more comprehensive measures against marine litter will be needed to tackle the problem on a global scale, supporting a DFG retrieval project is a concrete, immediate and symbolic opportunity for public authorities to show their determination in fighting this global phenomenon at the local level.

Port authorities, both public and private, do not only have legal responsibilities with respect to the management of waste from vessels, but the fishing sector is a source of income for them.  Sharing the responsibility with the fishing sector for the costs of retrieving DFG may therefore be appropriate. 

Why should private sector companies co-sponsor your project (financially or in-kind)?

There are a number of reasons why companies might want to support a DFG project. Although nets are abandoned, discarded or lost by fishermen, mainly unintentionally, many industries or organisations may wish to provide support because they contribute to causes of DFG or as part of their broader corporate social responsibility programme. Some private sector companies may also wish to support your project if they benefit directly or indirectly from cleaner seas and beaches.

  • Gear manufacturing companies might either be interested in cooperating to develop mitigation measures or be open to take back retrieved gear for subsequent recycling. 
  • For regional and local waste operators that are active in the area and in the port in any case, sponsoring a DFG project can be done in-kind without a major additional effort, and could provide significant public recognition from the local community.
  • Companies in the tourism sector (beach facilities, angling, sailing or diving clubs) in your area might be aware that DFG impacts on the quality of angling, diving, sailing or other water sports. They also base their business on a clean, healthy and visually enjoyable environment. Initiatives to reduce DFG are thus in their interest and can be combined with awareness raising campaigns.
  • Restaurants and others purchasing fish from the region may be sensitive about the quality of the products they buy. Contamination of fish due to plastics indigestion (coming from dissolving nets) is a topic which receives increasing public attention. Supporting a local DFG project might align with the promotional and high quality standard practices of some operators.
  • Recreational fisherman might in some areas also contribute to the problem of DFG and may be interested in contributing to combating this problem while underlining their objective to support a clean environment. From another perspective, the presence of DFG might impede a booming recreational fishing business if recreational fishing gear gets lost when entangled or hooked.

Involving the private sector as sponsor for your project has, in many cases, the benefit of strengthening the link between the concrete remediation activities of your project to a sector that contributes to the problem or benefits from its solution. To motivate companies to support your project, you might want to consider ways to provide public recognition of the contributions of your sponsors (via media, logo, website etc.). Further information about this is mentioned in the section on Project communication