We’ve all heard of sustainable fishing, but how many of us think about sustainable solutions for recycling our fishing gear when it’s no longer fit for purpose?
The impact of a rising global population and the increased use of plastics and man-made materials in most of our packaging as well as most fishing tackle, from line to nets to lures, has had a marked effect on the health of our oceans and waterways.
An estimated 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is added to our oceans annually. This lost or abandoned fishing gear continues to trap fish indiscriminately and thus has a an impact on fish stocks as well as posing a risk to sea birds, turtles and other marine animals.
When you consider that many of the materials used in the construction of lines and nets are expected to last more than 500 years this poses a massive problem to the health of our marine ecosystems.
We are never going to see a return to hand spun silk lines or woven willow lobster pots, but we are increasingly going to need to think carefully about recycling our modern end-of-life fishing gear if we are to stem the tide of ghost nets and other fishing-related marine litter.
Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI)
The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is a cross-sectoral alliance committed to finding solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide. Launched in 2015 the GGGI seeks to use scientific and technological know-how to bring about improvements to the health of marine ecosystems and marine animals as well as protecting human health and the livelihood of fisherman throughout the world.
The idea behind the initiative is that a collective effort of people from all walks of life across the globe is the best way to ensure a wide reaching impact on the problem of fishing litter.
As the currents of our rivers and oceans causes abandoned fishing gear to travel far from where it started the problem affects us all and costs millions of pounds every year to clean up. The common goal of reducing the amount of marine debris requires a long-term effort and international initiatives, but we can make an impact on the amount of waste by handling our end-of-life fishing gear responsibly in the first place.
A New Life
The plastics that are used in the construction of nets, lines, ropes, floats, pots and creels can be recycled easily and effectively and used in a wealth of new products. Have you ever thought that your old fishing gear could have a second life as a skateboard?
Or how about waste nets being transformed in to carpet or items of clothing? The range of applications for recycled plastics is phenomenal and although different types of plastic sometimes require different treatments and methods of processing inroads are being made as a result of new and innovative technologies.
Although the problem isn’t going to go away in a hurry the future looks bright with schemes being launched in the UK for commercial fishermen to recycle used nets where once they would have had to pay to take them to landfill.
John Penn runs JP Tackle Fishing Supplies, an online fishing tackle supplier based in Essex. John prides himself on his fast and excellent customer service, which makes JP Tackle one of most popular online fishing tackle shops around.