“We cannot continue to make the sea a garbage dump”, declared the Regional Secretary for the Sea and Fisheries of Madeira, Teófilo Cunha, at the ceremony of handing over the 'OceanLit' flag to the first 11 vessels that were able to join the project.

Teófilo Cunha said that this is the symbol that the vessels return all the rubbish produced on board and proceed with the collection of any rubbish that they find during fishing activity and navigation, in particular materials of the fishing gear that are left adrift at sea.

“In the first months of this year, around two tons of fishing gear found adrift in the region's maritime waters were collected, as well as bottles, plastics and tires”, he said.

The 'OceanLit' is part of a project co-financed 85% by the European Union, through the INTERREG MAC 2014-2020 Program, of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which involves placement in the fishing ports of Funchal, Caniçal, Porto Monos , Paul do Mar and Porto Santo of specific containers for the reception of marine litter associated with fishing activities.

The Madeiran Regional Secretary stressed that these 11 vessels “are the first of many” that he hopes will join the project.