Fishing for plastic pollution and discarded fishing gear for a healthier Baltic Sea

Plastic pollution and discarded fishing gear (also known as ‘ghost fishing’) are a significant problem for the world’s lakes and oceans. In the EU project Re:Fish, efforts are underway to address this issue in the central Baltic Sea through a collaboration between Sweden, Finland, and Estonia. VA (Public & Science) is providing expertise in this three-year project running from 2023 to 2026.

Lost fishing gear and other fishing equipment can be found in all the seas, lakes, and waterways where recreational fishing takes place. Discarded nets, traps, and lines cause unnecessary harm to fish, birds, and marine mammals. Moreover, they contribute to ocean pollution by releasing both plastic and harmful substances. The same occurs when fishing gear is lost or discarded on land, where it breaks down and disperses microplastics into the environment.

VA is involved in the Re:Fish project via its member, the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation, providing expertise and support on the citizen science part of the project, which is aimed at increasing the reporting of lost fishing gear and raising awareness about the issues through campaigns.

Re:Fish aims not only to remove plastic from the Baltic Sea to improve the health of the marine environment but also to co-create and engage relevant stakeholders (recreational fishermen, manufacturers and retailers, civil society, universities, and authorities) to implement preventive measures and establish better monitoring of lost recreational fishing gear in the future.

More information about Re:Fish

Read more on the project website.

The Re:fish project is funded by Interreg Europe, an interregional cooperation programme, co-funded by the European Union. 

Public & Science Sweden

Areas of interest


Vetenskap & Allmänhet

[email protected]

Lotta W Tomasson

Tel 0707289720

[email protected]