Fishermen to get paid for catching rubbish!

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A top EU official has come up with a unique way to solve the problems of dwindling fish stocks and plastic ocean pollution; pay the fishermen to catch plastic.

Maria Damanaki, EU commissioner for fisheries came under fire earlier this year when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched the Channel 4 ‘Fish Fight’ campaign to stop the wasteful practise of discarding fish that exceed EU quotas.

The Commissioner launches a trial project in the Mediterranean this month where fishermen will be given special nets to catch the plastic which threatens marine life. The move is intended to placate fishing fleets that fear they will lose money if unable to throw away lower value fish.

Quoted in an interview for the Guardian Damanaki said: "Ending this practice of throwing away edible fish is in the interest of fishermen, and consumers. It has to happen – we cannot have consumers afraid to eat fish because they hate this problem of discards. people feel insecure, because this is a change. That is why they need incentives."

Initially the fishermen will be funded by EU members but eventually it is hoped that the plan will becomes self-sustaining from sales of the plastic.

The move will also protect fish, seabirds and other marine species that suffer from ingesting small pieces of plastic. Over half of the turtles found dead on a stretch of coastline of Brazil were found to have a significant amount of plastic debris in their stomachs.

A rubbish spill known as the North Pacific Gyre is the same size as Texas and contains an estimated 3.5 million items of plastic detritus, ranging from toys to toothbrushes.