New competition launched to tackle ocean plastics by reducing lost fishing gear

Published on
April 30, 2018

Circular Ocean has launched an innovation competition, designed to engage creative and technical communities to provide new ideas and solutions related to the re-use and recycling of end-of-life fishing nets in the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) region.  

Circular Ocean, a three-year European project that seeks opportunities to recover and reuse of waste commercial fishing gear with a view to benefiting local economies, is inviting competition entries from individuals as well as multi-disciplinary teams of entrepreneurs, inventors, designers and students who would like to tackle marine plastics with ideas, solutions and product concepts. 

Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the challenge seeks to attract new ideas that enable a circular value chain through innovative material processing, technology, local machinery, systems, business models or completely different solutions that enable the collection, reusing and recycling of discarded and used fishing gear. 

An estimated 8 million metric tons (MT) of plastic enter oceans each year, and lost and discarded fishing-related gear is the most treacherous form of marine plastic, persisting in the marine environment for hundreds of years, continuing to catch fish and causing entanglement of marine wildlife, said Circular Ocean. 

This concern is particularly pertinent to Ireland, where many communities are already subject to the consequences of ocean plastic pollution damaging their environment as well as local fishing industries, tourism and related business, it added. 

Irish partners and Cork County Council initiative Macroom E hope the competition will act as a catalyst to motivate and empower communities across Ireland to consider sustainable business opportunities utilising plastics from waste fishing gear.

The closing date for entries is 1 June 2018. Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of experts from the NPA regions and specialist networks. The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is also supporting the project.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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