published on 18 June 2019 in water
Fishermen fish for plastic in the Adriatic Sea
Fishermen from San Benedetto del Tronto have become authentic sea sweepers. For 6 weeks, 40 fishing boats, after going back to port, unloaded not only their catches, ready for sale, but also large amounts of waste, especially plastic waste. The initiative is called “Fishing for plastic”, coordinated by MedSharks and part of the European Clean Sea LIFE project. It is essential to understand that almost a quarter of what fisherman catch and haul on deck is made up of waste: thanks to this initiative, fishermen were able to help collect and dispose of waste that remains tangled in their nets, while they are usually forced to throw it back into the sea.
For the record, they collected 6 tons of waste, over 20% of which was potentially recyclable. The waste was analysed and separated by the PicenAmbiente and Garbage Service waste management companies, the Municipality of San Benedetto and the Central Adriatic Sea Port System Authority, coordinated by the Harbour Office and MedSharks with the help of CNH Industrial and FPT Industrial. The initial analysis showed that over 53% of the waste collected by the fishermen was plastic, 13% textile materials, 11.5% metal and rubber, 4.6% glass and 4% mixed waste. No less than 48% of the plastic waste was made up of single-use items and food packaging, bottles, containers, disposable plates and cups. The success of the initiative encouraged fishermen and partners to commit to continuing the seabed clean-up operation up until mid-August, when fishing is halted for the annual biological recovery period. The San Benedetto model will then be shared with the Authorities at regional, national and European level to go beyond the experimental stage and allow fishermen to perform waste fishing operations continuously.