Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Seafood Development Agency, recently launched the BIM Fishing for Litter programme, funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), in Ros a Mhíl fishing port in Galway. This simple but imaginative initiative originally developed by KIMO, a Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation that now has 75 member authorities, enables fishermen to collect marine litter in heavy duty Fishing for Litter bags that can be brought ashore for appropriate disposal and recycling.
BIM’s CEO Tara McCarthy said; ‘Sustainability is a key driver and priority for BIM and our fishing industry. Participation in this initiative can gain recognition for member vessels and their crews as Fishing for Litter contributes to BIM’s Certification and Sustainability programmes and Bord Bia’s Origin Green sustainability charter. Ros a Mhíl has already set a very high standard in driving environmental responsibility and I would like to congratulate and recognise the members of Galway and Aran Fishermen’s Co-op and Harbour Master Captain Connolly for their achievements to date’
The BIM Fishing for Litter programme is already proving to be a great success with 34 vessels participating in Union Hall, Castletownbere, Ros a Mhíl and Clogherhead fishing ports with Killybegs port also coming on board.
Ros a Mhíl is the key fishing port on the West coast landing 3,637 tonnes of seafood, predominantly shellfish, worth €12 million to our economy. Members of the Galway and Aran Fishermen’s Co-operative are already active in embracing environmental initiatives including BIM’s Fishing Net Recycling programme where nets are dismantled into a number of components, enabling the material to enter a number of recycling streams thus diverting such material from landfill. To date, the port has recycled approximately 11 tonnes of fishing nets.
In close co-operation with the Harbour Master and BIM, all 10 vessels of the Galway and Aran fishermen’s co-operative set ambitious targets both on-board and onshore, for their improving waste separation which aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by 10% each year and will strategically contribute to the targets set by Galway County Council in the Waste Management Plan for the Connacht-Ulster Region.
With all this work underway and the participation of Ros a Mhíl in BIM’s Fishing for Litter programme; the Co-op have achieved membership of Bord Bia’s Origin Green Charter this year. As Sean Griffin, Manager of Galway and Aran Fishermen’s Co-op explains; ‘We are collectively working together in Ros a Mhíl to improve the overall sustainability and efficiency of the port. We have a good working relationship which is allowing us to progress major projects for the harbour and BIM’s assistance in a number of these projects including Fishing for Litter has been instrumental in our success. There is a pride amongst fishermen and the local community in Ros a Mhíl and this pride will continue to drive our focus on environmental responsibility protecting our livelihoods and the local environment for many years to come’
Another key action for the fishermen’s co-operative is to establish baseline information on the volume of vessels waste going to landfill through the waste receptacles at the Ros a Mhíl Fishery Harbour Centre. Such material is galley waste which is effectively “kitchen waste”, and can include plastics and other recyclable materials. The vessels are participating on a number of initiatives with BIM such as segregating waste on-board using smart handing techniques especially adapted for the restricted space available on-board and a higher conformity rate with the harbours colour coded bag campaign.
Pictured at the launch of BIM’s Fishing for Litter initiative in Ros a Mhíl port are; Catherine Barrett, BIM; Michael Connolly, recently retired Harbour General Operative, Skipper/Owner of Star of Hope Mike O’Flaherty , Captain John Connolly, Harbour Master and Galway and Aran Fishermen’s Co-op Manager Sean Griffin
For more information on BIM’s Fishing for Litter programme, please visit Fishing for Litter.