Creating value with ocean waste
Dumped fishing nets are the biggest plastic polluter in the ocean
More than 640,000 tons of fishing gear are dumped and discarded in the ocean every year, the same weight as 55,000 double-decker busses. By 2050, ocean plastic is estimated to outweigh all the ocean’s fish. The fishing gear is referred to as “ghost gear” and creates 10% of the total ocean plastic pollution.
An unwanted material becomes value
A single World Wildlife Fund-led clean-up mission in 2015 in the Baltic Sea hauled up 268 tons of nets. And, the single port of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, has collected 367,000 pounds of old fishing gear with deposit marks since 2008.
Fishing nets are primarily made of different kinds of plastic. Modern recycling methods are emerging, allowing the large amounts of collected fishing nets to be recycled in various ways, e.g., becoming nylon yarn for the fashion industry.
Picture: fishing net mountain waiting to be re-used at Plastix.