This project turns abandoned fishing gear into volleyball nets
A team of environmentalists turns “ghost nets” into sport nets, giving new life to abandoned fishing gear adrift in the world’s oceans.
The organization responsible for world volleyball (FIVB) has partnered with marine conservation group Ghost Fishing Foundation to launch Good Net. Supported by collaborators such as the Healthy Seas initiative, World Animal Protection and Greenpeace, the project is designed to rid the seas of discarded fishing nets, many of which are recycled into volleyball nets for local community use around the world. whole.
According to United Nations figures, up to 800,000 tonnes of discarded, abandoned or lost fishing nets adrift in our oceans each year.
Ghost nets are often lost in storms or strong currents and can drift for many months or even years, entangling fish, seabirds and marine mammals.
Wave of destruction
Drifting gear can travel great distances and continue to fish long after being abandoned. It is a problem that does not recognize international territorial waters or distinguish between the types of species that are trapped.
Some abandoned nets cling to reefs, smothering coral and killing marine life. Others drift with the ocean current in open waters, where they trap fish, turtles and larger mammals like dolphins, seals and whales. In coastal U.S. waters alone, 76 large whale entanglements were reported in 2017.
Loaded with dead marine life, the nets eventually sink to the ocean floor where scavengers feed on the tangled carcasses. After being freed from their ballast, the abandoned nets rise to the surface and resume fishing.
Human intervention to remove the nets from our oceans breaks this destructive cycle. And because most modern nets are made from durable synthetic fibers, they can be broken down into nylon yarn, which can be used for a number of new applications.
Some of the nets are repaired using traditional techniques and are turned into volleyball nets for the enjoyment of local communities. With the circular economy at work in this way, once dangerous nets play a small role in sustainability efforts.
The first sporting event using recycled nets took place on the famous Copacabana Beach in Brazil, which was also the setting for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games beach volleyball tournament. It was the first in a series of matches volleyball games approved by the FIVB and planned at various venues around the world, with the aim of raising awareness of the damage to marine life and habitats caused by abandoned fishing gear.
Nick Mallos, director of the Trash Free Seas program at Ocean Conservancy, who heads the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, points out that the current situation is a loser for marine life and also for fishermen.
“When there is a large amount of fishing gear, it affects the results of the fishermen, it affects the future sustainability of the otherwise harvestable catch and often prevents the fishermen from spending more time on the water,” he says. -he.
The initiative brings together academics, policy makers, private companies and NGOs to tackle the problem of ghost nets.