50 tonnes of litter has been retrieved from the waters surrounding Devon and Cornwall by a team of more than 130 boats.
Tyres, parts of fridges and barrels were found during the process, along with more common marine debris such as carrier bags, old fishing nets and bottles.
The project, which began in 2009, has been embraced enthusiastically by the fishing communities around the Devon and Cornish coasts, which is unsurprising as some estimates calculate the average yearly cost of marine litter to a standard fishing vessel at £10,000.
Cornwall Councillor Edwina Hannaford – “Cornwall’s beaches attract thousands of tourists each year, keeping them clean is very important; the waste collected by this project prevents it being washed ashore”
Cornwall portfolio holder for the Environment, Councillor Edwina Hannaford, has praised the efforts of the local population and commended the positive achievements that are being made.
She said: “It’s wonderful to see the Fishing for Litter Partnership achieving excellent results. Cornwall’s beaches attract thousands of tourists each year, keeping them clean is very important; the waste collected by this project prevents it being washed ashore.”
South West Fishing for Litter coordinator, Alison Elvey de Rios, said: “It’s great that this innovative, simply executed project has landed over 50 tonnes of marine litter. The project’s momentum is growing year on year, and more fishermen are getting involved to help clean our seas.”
The EU has also been proactive with regard to the issue of marine cleanliness, and is introducing legislation that will ensure cleaner beaches and oceans throughout Europe, with the Bathing Water Directive, which is roughly twice as strict as the current standard, set to come into force in 2015.
Under the new regulations, beaches that achieve a poor rating will have to display prominent signage advising people not to swim there.