Marine litter, Projects in the EU

Three types of marine litter removal projects have been initiated in the EU:

Marine litter retention projects, in which fishermen collect marine litter that accumulates in their nets during regular fishing activity, and deposit full bags in the ports. This type of project is promoted in particular by KIMO international (Fishing for Litter initiatives) in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and in Sweden. Similar projects have been initiated in Germany by NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union), in the Netherlands, in the port of Den Helder, in Spain, in Galicia, by CETMAR, and in Palma de Mallorca, by the local fishermen cooperative, and in France, under the scheme of the 'Contrats Bleus' on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts and in Aquitaine, by the Institute of Aquatic Environments.

Marine litter collection projects, during which fishermen make special purpose trips to collect litter. This type is currently restricted to floating litter and promoted by Waste Free Oceans.

Derelict fishing gear (DFG) retrieval projects, during which fishermen make special purpose trips to retrieve DFG, at sea or on wrecks. This type of project has been initiated so far in Poland and Lithuania by WWF Poland, and in Sweden, where individual fishermen are contracted to retrieve nets. Retrieval operations will also occur in the Adriatic Sea, as part of the LIFE project GHOST, led by ISMAR (Italian Institute of Marine Sciences).

Most of the marine litter retention projects implemented to date are located in the North East Atlantic; projects in the Baltic Sea and in the Mediterranean Sea are more recent. Derelict fishing gear retrieval projects are primarily located in the Baltic Sea, as lost fishing gears are more of an issue in this area. No projects have been initiated yet in the Black Sea.