New circular economy opportunities from discarded industrial fishing nets |06 August 2021
The department of blue economy along with other stakeholders are conducting a preliminary round of activities to explore the potential use and value of abandoned and discarded industrial fishing nets and gears.
Together, programmes, initiatives, and pilot projects will be proposed, to prevent the fishing gear from becoming waste, thus turning them into valuable raw materials, to be used by creative Seychellois circular economy entrepreneurs.
Designed to be a collaboration between various sectors, the project will try to offer proposed solutions to the problem of fishing nets and gears that end up being abandoned by means of circular economy solutions, giving them new use.
The department of blue economy will be working alongside the Organisation of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna Vessels (Opagac), which is a Spain-based association of nine operators of 47 tuna purse-seiners fishing in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans; the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA); other local stakeholders involved in the fishing industry, as well as the local community.
According to director general for maritime boundary within the department of blue economy Francesca Adrienne, the Opagac recently facilitated the visit of Borja Mendes, innovation manager at the Sinerxia Consulting Group (specialised in fisheries sustainability and innovation) to conduct a preliminary round of stakeholder activities to explore the potential use and value of abandoned and discarded industrial fishing nets and gears and support them in the mission.
The visit was to initiate a scoping study to draw the picture of the current situation (estimated flows of fishing nets, existing infrastructure and logistics, current uses of the materials, impacts on people and the environment) and to brainstorm and identify potential future scenarios where the abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gears (ALDFG) are managed according to the principles of the circular economy.
The visit took place between July 19-22, and it included meetings with net assemblers and repairers, shipping agents and handlers, the Seychelles Port Authority (SPA), the SFA, as well as ministries and departments dealing with industry and entrepreneurship, waste management, youth and local government, and non-governmental organisations.
Other activities included a visit to Ile du Port at the net storage and repair yard, and a brainstorming session with key waste management entities together with industry and entrepreneurship government departments.
Following the meetings, potential business opportunities for reusing and recycling of the nets have been identified, which could lead to the creation of green jobs and the development of new industries.
Also, many ideas were provided to improve the processes and develop an integrated system to manage the nets discarded by the fishing industry.
This visit marks the start of a new area of cooperation between the department of blue economy and Opagac, who are planning to continue supporting the development of circular economy solutions for the fishing nets in the future, always with the engagement of all the local stakeholders. Together, programmes, initiatives, and pilot projects will be proposed, to prevent the fishing gear from becoming waste turning them into valuable raw materials, to be used by creative Seychellois circular economy entrepreneurs.
According to blue economy special advisor Philippe Michaud, the project will not cost the government a single cent, but will be rather beneficial to all stakeholders and partners involved.