From October 6-8, the Healthy Seas initiative in cooperation with Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund (AIPF), Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) and the Ghost Fishing Foundation is carrying out a mission in the Aeolian Islands to recover lost fishing nets. The mission is exclusively sponsored by Aquafil, with contributions from AIPF and BLUE.
According to UNEP and FAO reports, 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear are left in the seas and oceans each year. Endangered bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles, sperm whales, and dusky groupers, have been found entangled in nets near the Aeolian Islands and in the Tyrrhenian Sea, suffering unnecessarily and in many cases eventually dying.
Once recovered, the fishing nets will be cleaned and combined with other nylon waste materials, by Aquafil before being transformed into ECONYL® regenerated nylon, an infinitely recyclable raw material.
The project, also realized in collaboration with the Coast Guard and the Municipality of Lipari, will involve divers and local fishermen who will be directly involved in the recovery of the nets. The area of recovery will be concentrated between Lipari and the surrounding islands.
The long-term objective of the ghost net removal mission is to aid the process for the creation of a well-managed marine protected area (MPA) across the Aeolian archipelago by the Italian Government by contributing to the awareness of the local community towards the protection of the marine environment.
On October 8th, students of the IC Lipari primary school and the IC Santa Lucia secondary school will have the opportunity to meet the divers and learn about the problem of marine litter.
The Healthy Seas initiative has been operating for five years in the UK, Italy, Greece, Netherlands, and Belgium. During this time, in cooperation with volunteer divers and fishermen, the initiative has collected 375 tons of fishing nets from the seas and from land, the equivalent in weight of 2 blue whales.
Invitation to the Press: On Monday, October 8th, the Press is invited to be on board one of the boats to experience the challenging sea clean-up action. Limited seating available. The meeting point will be at La Gorgonia diving centre (S. Giuseppe, 98050 Lipari ME, Italy) at 9am.
Ambra Messina Coordinator, Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund
Tel: +39 3927927916
Notes to Editors:
The mission of ‘Healthy Seas, a Journey from Waste to Wear’ initiative, is to remove waste from the seas, in particular fishing nets, for the purpose of creating healthier seas and recycling marine litter into textile products. The recovered nylon fishing nets will be transformed and regenerated by Aquafil into ECONYL® yarn, a high-quality raw material used to create new products, such as socks, swimwear or carpets.
The discarded, lost, or abandoned fishing nets are sometimes called “ghost nets” because they appear invisible underwater and continue to catch fish and other marine animals without human involvement. They are plastic waste which remains in the seas for hundreds of years and does not biodegrade. Millions of marine animals, including sharks, dolphins, seals and turtles get entangled in these nets leading to suffering and eventual death. Every year, some 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost in our seas and oceans.
Ghost Fishing Foundation
Ghost Fishing is an international non-profit organization, executed by volunteer technical divers, which initiates, supports and promotes lost fishing gear removal initiatives in oceans, seas and local waters. Since 2012 they have run lost fishing gear survey and removal projects in the North Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Pacific Ocean in cooperation with various environmental organizations and with the support of a continuously growing group of volunteer technical divers.
Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund
The Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund is dedicated to the preserve the natural beauty of the Aeolian Islands by promoting sustainable tourism. The fund finances and supports projects to preserve the environment and the sea of the islands.
Blue Marine Foundation
Known as BLUE, this UK registered charity was set up in 2010 by some of the team behind the award-winning documentary film ‘The End of the Line’. BLUE exists to fix the largest solvable problem on the planet – the crisis in the oceans. The charity is dedicated to combatting over-fishing and the destruction of biodiversity by creating marine reserves and establishing sustainable models of fishing. Its mission is the active and effective protection of 10% of the world’s oceans by 2020 and 30% by 2030.
Founded in 1965, Aquafil is one of the leading nylon 6 producers in Italy and worldwide. The Aquafil Group is present in eight countries and on three different continents, employing more than 2,800 employees in 16 production plants located in Italy, Germany, Scotland, Slovenia, Croatia, the United States, Thailand and China. Aquafil in 2011 implemented the ECONYL® Regeneration System, an innovative system in which nylon 6 is produced starting from waste.
ECONYL® a regenerated nylon wire starting from waste that would otherwise end up in landfills, like old carpets, and those abandoned at sea, like fishing nets. ECONYL® is recycled nylon, which has the exact same characteristics as virgin spring, but can be regenerated, recreated and remodeled indefinitely.