European project netting fishing gears for high value products

A European research project has started initial research into preventing the loss and abandonment of fishing nets, while facilitating the recovery of the nets for reuse in high-value textile products.
 
Led by Spanish Plastics Technology Centre Aimplas and funded by the European Union, the Oceanets project was launched 10 months ago and is working with several players to tackle the issue of abandoned nets.
 
The project has already carried out first tests on a GPS tracking tool which will help fishermen identify areas where there are likely obstacles that can trap their fishing gear.
 
The tool also allows fishermen to locate where they have lost nets, Aimplas said in a statement.
 
In addition, first tests were also conducted for developing mechanical and chemical recycling methods to find new uses for recovered fishing nets at the end of their life cycle.
 
As part of the project, the Port of Vigo Shipowners’ Cooperative (ARVI) is raising awareness across the fishing gear value chain – manufacturers, users, repair and waste management services – about the challenges posed by the loss of nets in the seas.
 
ARVI member ships are chartered to bring disused nets to the port, while the cooperative works with waste managers and net makers that manufacture and repair fishing gear.
 
One contributor to the project is Spanish trawler manufacturer Tecnopesca P&M, which is currently working on determining the composition of gears, sampling different fractions for analysis and recovery through recycling.
 
Here, initial chemical recycling tests are being performed on polyamide nets to obtain fibres that can be used to produce sportswear.
 
For other kinds of fishing nets, Aimplas said it was doing research on mechanical recycling and compounding processes to improve the properties of the materials so that they can be used in different value-added applications.
 
Other companies and associations participating in the Oceanets project include Ecoalf, the Universidad de Vigo, Sintex and the Asociación Vertidos Cero.

» Publication Date: 06/12/2019

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This project has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 745828