Fishing for Litter

The ‘Fishing for Litter’ initiative simply encourages fishermen to take ashore the litter they encounter at sea while fishing. Ninty vesssels and all six fishery harbours run by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine are currently taking part in the initiative.

Project Aim

To reduce plastic in the ocean as it threatens sea life and marine habitats. It is estimated that 80% of waste at sea is plastic.

Our Methods

  • BIM provides vessels with large heavy duty bags to collect marine litter caught in their nets
  • When full, these bags are deposited safely on the quayside where BIM works with port authorities to organise appropriate disposal of the material.

Fishermen unloading the full bags at the quayside

When full, the bags are deposited on the quayside

Harry McLoughlin, Harbour Master in Howth spoke of how he first became involved in the scheme.

“On a practical level, I saw it [Fishing for Litter] as a way to reduce costs for the harbour but most importantly, it’s made everyone from harbour staff to fishermen more conscious about having a good working environment. One of the first questions I now get asked when boats come in is ‘Where are the [Fishing for Litter] bags?’

Going forward

BIM will continue to build on this initiative. The scheme is also active and highly successful in the UK and Scotland and underpins EU legislation supporting the protection and sustainable use of the marine environment (Marine Strategy Framework Directive).

Vessels wishing to join the scheme should contact Catherine Barrett at or 087 2897651.

What you can do?

Learn about what you can do to help prevent marine litter. Download our Waste Prevention Leaflet (pdf 580Kb) .

Learn more

To learn about the highly successful initiative in the UK and Scotland visit

Contact Us

To learn more contact:

Catherine Barrett
Mobile: +353 (0)87 2897651