Overfishing isn’t the only reason to be concerned about the commercial seafood industry. According to a 2009 United Nations FAO report, abandoned and lost fishing gear accounts for about 10 percent of the trash that collects in the world’s oceans. Discarded nets cause the particular problem of “ghost fishing,” whereby they trap fish and other sea animals like turtles, birds, dolphins and whales.
But as Jim Witkin points out on NYT’s Green blog, there are several upcycling applications for discarded fishing material. Here in the US, several programs are working with the NOAA to collect old fishing nets and other debris to generate electricity in waste-to-energy plants.
On World Oceans Day, a different sort of fishing trash recycling program was announced by Interface, the global carpet manufacturer which has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most sustainable companies. The concept, called Net-Works, looks to turn discarded fishing net into new carpet tiles.
The six-month pilot project, a partnership between Interface and the Zoological Society of London, will take place in the coastal fishing community of Danajon Bank in the Philippines. Every year, the amount of fishing net discarded in Danajon Bank is long enough to circle the world almost one and a half times.
During the pilot, local community groups will manage the collection, processing and transportation of the nets. Payments for the material will then be used to finance economic development in the community.
Now that’s some novel thinking.
Photo via CleanTechnica