Fishing nets become fashion
The Saretu initiative aims to recycle and make use of lost, abandoned or worn out fishing gear. Image: Bermeo Tuna World Capital Association

Fishing nets become fashion

An initiative to make use of lost, abandoned or end-of-life fishing gear brings together the Bermeo Tuna World Capital Association in collaboration with fishing company Echebastar, the AZTI technology centre and textile company Ternua.

Between 5 and 13 million tonnes of garbage makes it into the ocean every year. Most of this garbage comes from land-based activities, but according to some estimates about 20% of that debris originates from marine activities such as fishing.

The recycled nets are being used to produce outdoor accessories. Image: Bermeo Tuna World Capital Association

This is what has given rise to the SARETU initiative. It is supported by Bermeo Tuna World Capital Association working with Echebastar, AZTI technology centre and Ternua.

‘We are going to give a second life to nets and fishing gear which have been lost by accident or deliberately abandoned and now accumulate in the oceans,’ said Bermeo Tuna World Capital’s Rogelio Pozo.

The SARETU initiative has been organised in four different phases, starting with collecting purse seine nets that are discarded in Seychelles, which is the main tuna hub for Basque vessels operating in the Indian Ocean. ‘Secondly, we will recondition those nets so they can be recycled. Once they’ve been processed they undergo mechanical recycling in order to be turned into ECONYL nylon. After that third phase we move to the last stage: production,’ he said.

Under this project, the aim it to produce outdoor accessories such as lightweight belt bags and breathable caps as well as multi-purpose bags.

‘This initiative is the result of the co-operation between science and industry and aims to use circular economy strategies in order to offer a solution to the problem of the fishing gear that ends up being abandoned at sea. Our main goal is to pick up discarded tuna fishing nets and recycle them by giving them a new use,’ Rogelio Pozo said.

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