For the fifth year in a row, dozens of Greek fishermen have documented the garbage they collect from the seabed every day as they work. In 2023 alone, more than 50 tons were brought ashore as part of the “Fishing for Litter” project, according to the environmental organization iSea in Athens, which specializes in marine ecosystems.

The plastic bottles, flip flops, plastic cups, but also ropes, fishing nets and many other objects were all garbage that was on or in the seabed.

The project aims to reduce marine litter together with the fishing industry, said iSea. It was commissioned by the foundation of the Greek shipowner Athanasios Laskaridis. Among other things, it is about changing fishermen’s waste practices and collecting data about garbage in the depths of the sea – where divers cannot go.

The 50 tons of garbage in 2023 consisted of around 45,000 items that were recorded by fishermen on a special form for scientific data collection. 57 percent of the waste was plastic items, half of which were single-use plastics. In addition, around 10 percent of the waste came from fishing, including nets, hooks and other objects. Other waste mainly included beverage cans.

The organizers now want to recruit even more fishermen across the country to join the project. One participant was quoted as saying: “The sea is my life – it’s part of my job. So everything that concerns it has a direct impact on me.”