EU Trial Project to Compensate Fishermen for Catching Plastic Waste

The European Union’s fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki, revealed new plans to pay fishermen to catch plastic trash in order to solve the simultaneously detrimental issues of decreasing fish stocks and the buildup of plastic debris in European fishing waters. A pilot project will begin this month in the Mediterranean whereby fishermen will be given the proper net equipment to collect accumulated plastic detritus that is impacting marine life and then have it be recycled.

Will the concept of this project catch on elsewhere and will the alternative income provided by the recovered recyclable plastic be enough to supplement what fishermen are losing from depleted fish stocks? Either way, this seems like a fresh, creative approach that should be recognized as a proactive step toward solving both a complicated economic and environmental problem.

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