The aim of the European OCEANETS project is to develop technology solutions in line with the circular economy model for end-of-life fishing nets. New methods are therefore being researched to prevent the loss of these nets and facilitate their recovery and reuse, as well as their recycling as new textile products with high added value.
Since its start in early 2019, the geolocation tool has been implemented by the Port of Vigo Shipowners’ Cooperative (ARVI) and the Asociación Vertidos Cero to prevent the loss of fishing nets. In net recovery projects, fishermen will now be able to identify areas where obstacles have been detected that trap their fishing nets, as well as the places where they have lost nets. In addition, thanks to chemical recycling, the company ECOALF has made possible to turn end-of-life fishing nets into a new raw material in the form of polyamide pellets.
AIMPLAS has just finished research studies that confirm the feasibility of including an additive in the polyamide pellets as a tracker. When exposed to infrared rays, this tracker will reveal its presence in the fabrics. This is the first time it has been possible to demonstrate the traceability of the raw material used to make a fabric, which, in this case, is fishing nets. The result is the fabric produced by Sintex as a sample.
The project’s next steps will be carried out in the field of mechanical recycling with the aim of recovering polyester and polyethylene fishing nets to manufacture new woven and non-woven products, respectively. The environmental, economic, and social impact of the processes and the project as a whole will also be measured under the direction of the Universidad de Vigo.
Other companies and associations participating in the OCEANETS project include ECOALF, the Universidad de Vigo, Sintex and the Asociación Vertidos Cero. The project is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals due to its commitment to the marine environment and responsible production and consumption. The project is funded by the European Union European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EASME) under grant agreement EASME/EMFF/2017/126.96.36.199/52/03/552.789390 (OceaNets).