Wednesday, May 4, 2011

EU Plan To Pay Fisherman To Clean Up Plastic Debris

Image from NOAA

An article in The Guardian explains that plans are underway to provide a subsidy to EU (European Union) fishermen who collect plastic debris instead of fish.
"Fishermen who clear plastic will be subsidised initially by EU member states, but in future the scheme could turn into a self-sustaining profitable enterprise, as fleets cash in on the increasing value of recycled plastics. Cleaning up the rubbish will also improve the prospects for fish, seabirds and other marine species, which frequently choke or suffer internal damage from ingesting small pieces of non-biodegradable packaging." 
This move has the beneficial effect of both reducing the number of fishing boats that are depleting an already dwindling supply of fish, by having them collect plastic instead of fish, and improving the quality of the ecosystem. Each part of this plan would increase fish numbers, but both together will likely have a greatly increased effect.

The hope is that the incentives will motivate fishermen to begin collecting recyclable plastics, but that eventually, it will become a self-sustaining industry of recycling. Imagine if something like this could be enacted on a global scale and used to combat the large gyres of floating trash in the world's oceans.

Researched and written by Dr. Rebecca Malamed, M.D. with assistance from Mr. Malcolm Potter.

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