An EU plan to pay fishermen to catch plastic will help save our waters from waste while providing fleets with alternative income.

This article titled “Fishing for plastic to save our seas” was written by Callum Roberts, for guardian.co.uk on Friday 6th May 2011 16.03 UTC

Rarely has a TV campaign been won so convincingly. In January this year, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight programme persuaded over 600,000 of us to support a ban on the wasteful practice of throwing dead fish back into the sea. The European commission listened and has announced it intends to ban discarding fish.

For some peculiar reason, the fishing industry’s reaction to the commission’s announcement was not as warm as you might have expected. A discard ban will put many out of business, we now hear, presumably because many of the fish caught as bycatch are smaller and less valuable than the ones fishermen land today. So in announcing the plan, Maria Damanaki, the European fisheries commissioner, sought to soften the blow. Under her proposal, fishermen may be paid to fish for plastic instead.

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