An Eastbourne fisherman has won an award for tackling the problem of abandoned and discarded fishing gear.
Graham Doswell, a small scale fisherman, won World Animal Protection UK’s Sea Change Champion Award, for tackling the problem of ghost fishing gear - abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing items such as nets, lines and pots.
The award is given to a leading individual who is tackling the problem and reducing the impact of lost fishing gear on the marine environment.
As part of its Sea Change Campaign World Animal Protection UK works with the fishing industry to prevent all fishing gear from entering UK waters and develop sustainable solutions and the award is a key part of this.
Christina Dixon, Sea Change UK Campaign manager, said, “Graham stood out as someone who is environmentally-minded, works hard to promote responsible fishing and acts as a community ambassador for recycling fishing nets when they have come to the end of their life.
“This type of solution is something we hope to see happening in more ports around the country as we all work together to close the loop on fishing gear.”
Graham said, “I am a third generation fisher and this area has been very productive and if you look after the fish stocks they will come back.
“We use small vessels and are limited to the area that we work, so fishing needs to be sustainable because if that’s gone then you have no livelihood.
“We use fishing gear that doesn’t damage the seabed and we recycle nets and ropes in one-ton bin bags when they need to be replaced so that it gets reused and doesn’t get put in landfill or damage the environment.”
Graham was nominated by local businessman, Harry Owen from MCB Seafoods who has been instrumental in establishing net collection points for fishermen in the UK and was impressed by Graham’s attitude to the scheme.
Christina spoke about the other nominees and added, “The people that this award has highlighted have made an outstanding contribution to addressing ghost gear, from modifications to fishing equipment, to limiting the impact of ghost fishing, to championing schemes designed to recover ghost gear and finding solutions to recycle equipment at the end of its life.”
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