Ghost fishing waste is estimated to kill at least 1000 whales, seals, dolphins, seabirds sea turtles and other creatures each day. One single net in the North Pacific had 99 dead seabirds, 200 dead fish and 2 dead sharks inside. Nets and fishing line used to be made from biodegradable hemp, but today are made from nylon, which does not break down. Other wildlife choke on fishing hooks, or get tangled in rope.
Photographer Francis Perez did untangle this lovely creature, who then freely swam away. But until things change, it could happen again.
- Fishing for Litter gives hard-wearing bags to fishermen, who collect marine litter, which is recycled at the harbour. All costs are covered.
- GhostFishing UK and Neptune’s Army are organisations run by volunteer divers, who collect discarded fishing gear and other items (the latter did indeed once find a kitchen sink).
- Try plant-based alternatives to fish, to reduce over-fishing. If you eat fish, choose brands free from by-catch.
- Stow It Don’t Throw It is a fishing line recycling bin designed by scientists, made from old tennis ball cans. Fishing line can later be disposed of in proper recycling bins. Monomaster is a little gadget to fit in your pocket to store fishing line, until you can safely dispose of it. Do not use recycling bins that resemble birds’ nests.
- Seabin Project is used in marinas worldwide, to catch marine trash. As long as you immediately release water, caught creatures can escape. It doesn’t catch microplastics because the inventors left the design, so small creatures like roe can pass through.
Products Made from Recycled Fishing Waste
This is a great idea for the following items, but only use sunglasses and flops etc, if you are not by the sea (if they fell in, they won’t biodegrade unlike bamboo or rubber). If you wear clothing made from recycled plastic, launder in a microfiber catch bag to stop fibres breaking off in the machine, and go into the sea. Avoid towels on beaches made with recycled plastic – they release tiny particles onto the sand, which will wash into the sea, when the tide goes in.
- Popsicase is made from fishing waste. These phone cases made from recycled materials are an alternative to biodegradable phone cases (better if you use phone cases near water, in case they dropped in the sea. Whichever one you choose, know that you are doing your bit to help the planet.
- All Earth Mineral Cosmetics are sold in posts made with recycled fishing nets as liners.
- Popsicase (Mediterranean) recycles fishing waste into a ‘plastic’ to make colourful iPhone cases.
- Nona makes clothes pegs made from recycled fishing waste, which are strong and sent in cardboard (free worldwide shipping). The simple design has no moving parts, and won’t rust or mould.
- Sedna Carpet makes carpets and tiles, ideal for offices.
- Dura Ocean Chair is a chair made from marine material, mostly ropes from the fishing industry.
- Bureo Skateboards are built to last for life.