The Circular Oceans conference on April 18-19, 2018, in Aalesund, Norway, brought together all kinds of parties interested in working with ghost gear. Recycling start-ups, designers, harbour and waste managers, scientists and NGOs discussed possibilities for the recycling of fishing gear retrieved from the sea.
Andrea Stolte presented the recycling trials conducted by WWF Germany as part of the MARELITT Baltic DFG treatment scheme. The results raised strong interest, as the companies wishing to work with ghost gear in their products are often not aware of the challenges and technical difficulties involved in waste fibre processing. Aspects such as toxic contamination with lead fragments from sink lines, a variety of metal, organic and other contaminants, as well as mixed polymers all need to be considered when working with waste retrieved from the sea, including lost fishing nets.
The exchange between all interested parties and the few organisations currently working with ghost gear in practice was invalueable for participants from all sides.