This project is turning abandoned fishing gear into volleyball nets

Volleyball 2019

(Jacob Repko, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content


A team of environmentalists is turning “ghost nets” into sports nets, giving new life to abandoned fishing gear adrift in the world’s oceans.

The organisation responsible for world volleyball (FIVB) has teamed up with marine conservation group the Ghost Fishing Foundation to launch Good Net. Supported by collaborators like the Healthy Seas initiative, World Animal Protection and Greenpeace, the project is designed to rid the seas of discarded fishing nets, with many becoming recycled into volleyball nets for local community use around the world.

According to United Nations figures, up to 800,000 metric tons of discarded, abandoned or lost fishing nets go adrift in our oceans each year.

Ghost nets are often lost during storms or in strong currents and can drift for many months, even years, entangling fish, seabirds and marine mammals.

Wave of destruction

Drifting fishing gear can travel great distances and can continue to fish long after it has been abandoned. It’s a problem that doesn’t recognise international territorial waters or distinguish between the types of species that become ensnared.

 The Ghost fishing cycle

The ghost-fishing cycle
Image: Elsevier

Some discarded nets become snagged on reefs, choking the coral and killing marine life. Others drift with the ocean current into open water, where they trap fish, turtles and larger mammals like dolphins, seals and whales. In US coastal waters alone, there were 76 large whale entanglements reported in 2017.

Laden with dead marine life, the nets eventually sink to the ocean floor where scavengers feed on the entangled carcasses. After being freed of their ballast, the abandoned nets rise to the surface and resume fishing.

Net impact

Human intervention in removing the nets from our oceans breaks this destructive cycle. And because most modern nets are made of durable synthetic fibres, they can be broken down into nylon yarn, which can be used for any number of new applications.

Some of the nets are repaired using traditional techniques and are turned into volleyball nets for local communities to enjoy. With the circular economy at work in this way, the once hazardous nets play a small part in helping sustainability efforts.

The first sporting event using recycled nets took place on Brazil’s famous Copacabana beach, which was also the setting for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games’ beach volleyball tournament. This was the first of a series of FIVB-endorsed volleyball matches planned for different venues around the globe, which aim to raise awareness of the damage caused to marine life and habitats by abandoned fishing gear.

Nick Mallos, director of the Trash Free Seas programme at Ocean Conservancy, which leads the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, points out that the current situation is a lose-lose for marine life and also for fishermen.

“When there is a large amount of fishing gear out there, it affects fishermen’s bottom lines, it affects the future sustainability of otherwise harvestable catch, and often it prevents fishermen from spending more time on the water,” he states.

The initiative brings together academia, policymakers, private companies and NGOs to tackle the problem of ghost nets.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Talent is worldwide. Opportunity is not. How can we redistribute it?

As ride-hailing firms drive into the future, who is being left behind?

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technological solutions

Entrepreneur India Convention 2016: Bringing together Entrepreneurs, Investors, Startups and SMEs

Recovering from COVID-19: these are the risks to anticipate now – before it’s too late

Empty stadiums and online streaming: how coronavirus is affecting the media industry

Change is happening – and young people are leading the way forward

Can one FTA and 110 lobby meetings make the dirty oil clean in Europe?

Killing of Egyptian peacekeeper in Mali ‘may constitute war crimes’ Guterres warns, urging ‘swift action’

Prisoner executions in Belarus ‘simply unacceptable’, says UN rights body

Indexation of family benefits, child tax credit and family tax credits: Commission takes Austria to Court for discrimination

Why the Fourth Industrial Revolution needs more arts graduates

Questions and answers: Commission proposes SURE, a new temporary instrument worth up to €100 billion to help protect jobs and people in work

Greece returns to markets at a high cost to taxpayers, after four years out in the cold

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

Artificial Intelligence: guidelines for military and non-military use

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

This is how we can save millions of people from extreme poverty after COVID-19

Listen to the future – how 26 youth-led organizations are supercharging the UN’s Global Goals

State of the Energy Union: Progress made on the clean energy transition and a basis for green recovery

New UN-Syrian Action Plan signals an ‘important day’ for child protection, says UN envoy

‘We all must step up’ collective action on disability inclusion – UN deputy chief

Environmental Implementation Review: Commission helps Member States to better apply EU environment rules to protect citizens and enhance their quality of life

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

EU Council approves visa-free travel for Ukraine and cement ties with Kiev

4 steps towards wiping out cervical cancer

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

Consultant in Forensic Technology – 1969

Does the “climate change” require ombudsman services for environment?

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

The Brussels bureaucracy blocks the Youth Guarantee scheme

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

Parliament ready to fight for a different EU budget

China Unlimited and the Chinese dream

Why is Merkel’s Germany so liberal with the refugees? Did the last elections change that?

Are the G20 leaders ready to curb corporate tax-avoidance?

Make this the year of ‘transformative solutions’ to avert disastrous climate change: UN Deputy Chief

Migration: Better travel safe than sorry

3 strategies for Africa to thrive in this new era of globalization

Quantitative easing: how Mario can tackle low inflation in Eurozone

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

How AI is shaping financial services

From Grexit to Brexit: UK industry now says the in/out referendum is good for your health

It’s 100 years since US women got the right to vote, but how has gender equality changed?

The cost of housing is tearing our society apart

‘Champion for multilateralism’ readies to hand over UN General Assembly gavel

Climate change is a security threat. We must act now

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis

Greece begins a new chapter following the conclusion of its stability support programme

EU: Centralised economic governance and bank supervision may lead to new crisis

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Europe’s children urge leaders to commit to climate action at UN Climate Summit in Paris

Almost all businesses expect to face a crisis. And how they deal with them really counts

UN chief commends Algerians for ‘mature and calm’ demonstrations for change, leading up to presidential resignation

Trump in London poisons UK and Europe

India: step up reform efforts to increase quality jobs and incomes

Why David Cameron’s large victory in UK elections will not pursue a ‘Brexit’

UK must end ‘unlawful’ administration of Chagos Archipelago ‘as rapidly as possible,’ top UN court rules

Latin America and Caribbean region deadliest for journalists in 2019

FROM THE FIELD: Enduring freezing winter in a war zone

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s