Lara Quinn who runs the monthly beach clean on behalf of the Marine Conservation Society writes: 

Single use plastics get a lot of media attention and we do find discarded plastic bottles, cutlery and straws left behind on the beach by people barbequing or picnicking. Uncollected, these items would undoubtedly be carried out to sea and pose a threat to marine life.

What is more noticeable, however, is the huge amount of fishing-related items we collect that are washed up by the tide – rope, string, netting, line, hooks, gloves, cable ties, and rubber protectors from lobster pots. 

There is a national scheme for recycling used fishing line, but disappointingly, this is not something the local fishing industry participates in. The National Geographic magazine recently reported that over half of all marine litter is fishing-related. To illustrate this we have constructed a metal fish, which we’ve filled with fishing-related litter found on the beach in Hastings and St Leonards over recent months to raise awareness of fishing litter.

As beach cleaning is brought in-house by Hastings Borough Council following an unsatisfactory contract with Kier, the coastline from Beachy Head to Hastings Pier is being designated a Marine Conservation Zone. This is in recognition of the special and unique habitats and marine life it hosts, so it’s vital to highlight the threat to marine life and habitats from the fishing industry.

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