On the 12th of June 2015, the DeFishGear project partners of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries from Split, organized a working meeting on the implementation of the DeFishGear project activities in the scope of Work Package 6 (WP6). The meeting was organised in the City Hall of Hvar, in the vicinity of the selected fishing port Vira. It was attended by the representatives of the Public Institution for Coordination and Development of Split Dalmatia County - RERA, also the DeFishGear project partner, and by the representatives of the City of Hvar, Nautical Centre, Fishing Association and Utility Company of Hvar.
The purpose of the meeting was for all stakeholders to become more familiar with the general information about the project, its progress, as well as planned and realized activities in all work packages, but with the particular focus on WP6 activities. Details of the project objectives and activities implemented so far were presented by Mr Pero Tutman, who specifically stressed the need for involvement of all stakeholders. He pointed out the importance of the marine litter problem, and its direct negative impact, not only on fishing, but also on tourism as a dominant activity in these areas.
Mr Mišo Pavičić additionally elaborated the activities implemented within WP6 and presented the current results of the pilot actions. He focused on the information about the quantity and composition of litter collected and also presented the financial report detailing planned and spent resources provided for activities in the fishing port Vira.
This was followed by the discussion with the participants about the progress of the project activities, and some proposals for the improved tackling of marine litter issues were also provided. The conclusion of the meeting was that it is particularly important to continue with the activities of collection and disposal of marine litter and derelict fishing gear after the project ends. Also, there is a need to expand certain activities, as well as to improve the existing ones.
It was emphasized that, in order to ensure uninterrupted continuation of activities in the future, specific sources of financing should be provided. Additionally, if the system is to function properly, it is necessary to find ways to further stimulate the fishermen, as the key stakeholders. The need to set up additional containers and tanks for waste oils, oily filters and oily rags was also expressed by some of the stakeholders.
The participants pointed out that the DeFishGear project succeeded in something very important - to connect stakeholders at different levels, as the first step in establishing a regulated system for collection, disposal and possible recycling of marine litter. The good cooperation is expected to continue, within the DeFishGear project, but also within the future projects.