OCEANETS will develop an ICT tool to prevent fishing gear loss and optimise the recycling technologies to produce high-quality fabrics from plastic nets.
Around 640 000 tons of fishing equipment are lost or abandoned in oceans annually, which can remain in oceans for up to 600 years. Considering that the fishing practice in Europe is 1.2% therefore the project objective waste would be 76,800 tons of fishing gear lost every year.
The loss or discarding of fishing gears can have particularly harmful impacts at sea, producing the effect of the so-called ghost fishing. These gears continue to fish and trap animals, entangle and potentially kill marine life, smother habitat, and act as a hazard to navigation. Derelict fishing gear, such as nets or traps and pots, is one of the main types of debris impacting the marine environment today. This project will prevent and correct this situation, in line with Action 9 of the Joint Communication on International Ocean Governance.
The objective of the OCEANETS project is to guarantee the viability of a circular economy model of certain fishing gear through the development of an ICT tool for preventing their loss and the optimization of the recycling technologies for its valorization. This will be undertaken through the demonstration and validation of technologies and high-added value products obtained in a technical, economic and environmental viable value chain in the Atlantic basin, being easily transferable to other European marine areas as well as to other regions of the world.
The OCEANETS project is focused on a reduction, monitoring and recycling scheme for fishing gears that will lead to several benefits over the conventional management:
- Enlargement of the fishing gears life thanks to the prevention of their loss in the marine environment due to entanglements, through the development of an ICT tool, on-line and updatable, to registry and facilitate geo-localized information on the potential risk area of loss of fishing gear;
- Awareness and involvement of the fishing sector in the solutions against the marine litter in general and against discarding and loss of fishing gears in particular;
- Reducing landfilling of this waste stream, the concentration of marine litter in the marine environment, its ecological impact as well as the loss of valuable resources;
- Increase of the recycling rates of end-of-use fishing gears, through the development and validation of an improved recycling technology for obtaining a recycled material addressed to the high-quality textile sector. This will be coupled with an analysis of the secondary applications for lower quality fractions from the recycled material and open up the market of high quality textile sector to products based in recycled materials obtained from recycled fishing gears;
- OCEANETS will support the implementation of policies to reduce marine litter from sea-based sources, as the recently published EU Strategy of Plastics, the upcoming proposal to revise the Directive on Port Reception Facilities, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Circular Economy Package, the Joint Communication on International Ocean Governance as well other initiatives as the Action Plan for a Marine Strategy in the Atlantic Area.