A worn out fishing net that has reached the end of its useful life and has been abandoned at sea by its owner can carry on ‘fishing’ endlessly as it drifts with the currents. Nets such as these are responsible for the needless deaths of hundreds of marine creatures – sea turtles among them – and that is why they are known as “ghost nets”.
MEDASSET is a partner in the innovative “Healthy Seas: A journey from waste to wear” initiative, which acts to remove “ghost nets” from the seabed.
The nets are recycled to make premium quality ECONYL® yarn, which in turn is used in the manufacture of brand new consumer products, such as socks, swimwear, carpets… and more.
Once the nets have been collected they are put into large, specially designed holding sacks and sent by road to dedicated cleaning facilities in Turkey and Lithuania. From there they travel on to Slovenia for processing and conversion into yarn.
“Healthy Seas” is a joint venture by NGO, ECNC Group (European Centre for Nature Conservation), and two businesses: Aquafil Group and Star Sock. The three joined forces to deal with the problem of ghost nets.
The initiative aims to be sustainable in both environmental and economic terms, since the nets that are brought to the surface don’t end up in landfill sites but are transformed into new, eco-friendly products that are not only attractive but also commercially viable.
MEDASSET is Country Coordinator for “Healthy Seas” in Greece. During 2015 we worked with both fishermen’s associations and commercial fish farms around the country to collect nets that were no longer in use. In parallel, we organised for teams of professional divers to pull up “ghost nets” from the seabed. All together we collected 22 tons of nets!
Throughout the year we have been publicising the initiative’s actions, informing the public and raising awareness of the problems caused by ghost nets.
The positive results of our efforts, i.e. the amount of nets collected, the TV and other media coverage that has acted to raise public awareness, and the interest shown by all those that have collaborated to make this project a success, have led to the decision to continue with it for a second year. Which means we will soon be taking even more action to protect our seas!