Cape Town - Over 100 Cape Town fishermen took part in Africa’s first Plastic Fishing Tournament and retrieved 300kg of plastic debris within three hours.
In recognition of World Oceans Week that took place earlier this month, the plastic retrieved from False Bay and Hout Bay will be recycled and made into beach benches.
The initiative was headed up by Mexican beer company, Corona, as part of its commitment to cleaner oceans and raising awareness of the plastic crisis.
Corona Plastic Fishing tournaments have taken place across the world, including Mexico, China, Brazil, and Israel, where local fisher people competed to remove plastic debris from the ocean.
Fishermen return their catches to plastic recycling centres and receive compensation for their work.
Director of Fishing Republic, Kegan Mattheys, who was involved in the tournament, said every effort to clean up the ocean will make a difference.
“As a fisherman, I can see the degradation that plastic is having on our oceans and how it is affecting the catch of fisherfolk along our coastline. We know we must do something about it. Even if we are small in comparison to the problem, we can make a difference every day,” he said.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) up to 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans daily.
It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea, impacting the livelihood of fisher people.
In South Africa alone, 250 000 tons of plastic enters the country’s rivers and ends up on the coastline annually.
Marketing manager at Corona, Melanie Nicholson, said it’s tragic how much single-use plastic ends up in the ocean.
“As a brand born on the beach, Corona wants to be part of the solution as well as encourage people to be more mindful of how they dispose of plastic because it can easily end up in the ocean, with devastating effects on marine life,” she said.