Spanish technology company Satlink has partnered with the Olive Ridley Project (ORP) and the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) to establish a programme for the removal and reuse of abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing nets and other fishing gear (ALDFG) in the Maldives.
Both organisations have ties to the coastal communities of Noonu Atoll, where the project will be developed together with local stakeholders. This area is home to ecosystems of high biological and social value such as coral reefs and turtle nesting sites, which ORP, IPNLF and Satlink aim to conserve through this project.
The collaboration aims to build the capacity of local coastal communities to reduce the impacts of ALDFG in a sustainable and long-lasting way. By involving and drawing from the strengths and knowledge of the local communities, the project aims to set the stage for similar initiatives on other islands in the Maldives and continue beyond its current two-year scope. The initiative also includes the use of removed nets in pre-existing circular economy initiatives, whether for reuse or recycling, through the artisanal industry, small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs), and/or local artists.
For this purpose, fishermen, citizen scientists and other local stakeholders in Noonu Atoll will undertake training workshops on various subjects, including the impact of ghost nets, ALDFG collection protocols, reuse opportunities and safe release techniques for sea turtles entangled in these nets. In addition, local scientists and biologists will collect and analyse information on the nature of drifting ghost gear in the Noonu Atoll area. These activities will serve to both raise environmental awareness and build capacity for dealing with ghost gear in the involved communities.
Satlink is a leading provider of technological systems for sustainable and responsible fisheries, and through the Zero Impact Campaign, launched in 2019, the company actively engages in initiatives that reduce the risk of ghost fishing and other damage to marine ecosystems.
The current collaboration in the Maldives is the latest of Satlink’s many such initiatives.