Shetland Project 2023

Ghost Fishing UK Shetland Project 2023

Background image kindly supplied by sarahkayarts
Ghost nets kill untold numbers of animals each year and add to the ocean plastic pollution problem. Fishermen have reported that they have been recovering huge lost nets in Shetland, Scotland, that are full of unintended catch. The nets are recognised as not being local to the British Isles. Ghost Fishing UK is heading to Shetland for a week-long project to help locate and remove as much ghost gear as possible and recycle what they can. They will be working in harmony with the local fishing community.


The charity has chartered a liveaboard diving boat for 12 divers for one week in the summer of 2023. The boat will operate in Shetland and the charity will work with information from divers and the fishing community in Shetland to locate lost fishing gear and recover it, with the aim of recycling everything they can. The charity will collaborate with the local fisheries and projects such as Keep Britain Tidy, Ocean Recovery Project and Fishing for Litter, and Ocean Plastic Pots.

Community Involvement

The charity is receiving reports of lost fishing gear, reported by the local fishing community, and we will endeavour to recover this gear and return it to them.

We are also hosting an evening charity and information event at the Shetland Museum, Lerwick, to engage the local fishing fleets and community volunteers who are invited to assist on the quayside, sorting and cleaning recovered lost fishing gear.

The evening event will involve talks, updates and progress on the project, and we are hosting a Q&A session to allow islanders to ask the charity about their work.

We are also working with schools on Shetland so they can get involved in the project, and we are planning activities whereby they can help with the recovered gear ready for recycling, meet the divers and learn about the ocean.

Join award-winning charity Ghost Fishing UK in Shetland.


Enjoy an evening with the charity, including:

  • Free drink and canapes, on us, on arrival
  • Update, films and results on the Shetland 2023 project
  • Talks from the team, sponsors and the fishing community.
  • Q&A session
  • Prize draw
  • Get your tickets here!

Ghost Fishing UK needs YOU!

Want to help our oceans but don’t know where to start?

Ghost Fishing UK is appealing for help in Shetland between the 6th and 11th of August 2023.

If you are on Shetland during these dates and would like to help turn lost fishing gear into a recycled product, read on…

We are looking for volunteers to roll their sleeves up and come and help us in the evenings at Lerwick harbour quayside.


Any lost fishing gear we find needs to be sorted, pressure washed and bagged, ready for transport to the mainland for recycling.

Any creel pots we find will be cleaned and sorted, awaiting collection from fishermen who want them.

We expect the vessel MV Valhalla to return to the harbour at approximately 5 pm each day, where we will need some assistance unloading, cleaning, and sorting any gear found.

Updates on our progress will be daily via our social media channels.

Don’t forget to join us on Thursday evening, 10th August, for an evening social and progress update and a Q&A session with the team.

You’ll need your wellies, old or waterproof clothes and gloves if you have some (we can provide if you need them). We will provide all cutting and pressure-washing equipment.

We look forward to seeing you there!