Recycling workshop in Stralsund, Germany

Last week, the MARELITT Baltic project partner WWF Germany arranged a three-day workshop on the topic “recycling of lost fishing gear”. The workshop was organised in Stralsund, Germany, with participants from all over the world: Peru, Hong Kong, UK, France, Spain, to name a few.

The topics covered both end-of-life nets collected in harbours and derelict fishing gear (DFG) retrieved from the sea. Some of the main points were:

- Harbour reception facilities: are harbours enough prepared for the collection of end-of-life and lost fishing gear?
- Pre-processing of nets for recycling: what needs to be done to prepare nets for different recycling schemes?
- Thermal recycling methods: could hydrolysis & pyrolysis be used for contaminated lost fishing gears?
- Material recycling plastics from the sea: which materials can be used and how can consumer products be created from lost nets?

Representatives from Global Ghost Gear Initiative, Circular Ocean, Green Deal & Fishing for Litter, Coopération Maritime and Centro Tecnologico del Mar, and many more, shared their knowledge and initiatives to retrieve ghost nets from the sea.  Vecoplan AG, RWTH Aachen and CleanCarbonConversion also presented their trials to recycle ghost net materials and Daniel Bünger from Polymerschmiede also presented an idea of ghost nets as market products.

Some conclusions from the workshop was that material recycling is very difficult with retrieved fishing gear, and it is most difficult with gillnets. Also, pre-processing in harbours are necessary in any recycling process. The best option for the recycling of gillnets is thermal processing through hydrolysis, and the best option for uniform materials is recycling with polymer matrix of pristine material. Finally, all processing (shredding, washing, density separation) is cost-, time-, energy expensive which should be taken into consideration, perhaps through a life-cycle analysis.

More details about the difficulties in handling such mixed materials as ghost nets, will be discussed in the upcoming MARELITT Baltic Recycling report.


Andrea Stolte,  WWF Germany - Introduction of the MARELITT Baltic Recycling Work Package

Marek Press, Keep Estonian Sea Tidy - Results of the harbour Reception Survey

Thord Görling, Fisheries Association Norden - Net pre-processing in Smögen harbour

Bård Aarbakke, Directorate of Fisheries Norway - Gear recovery in Norway: a recycling pathway at work

Edyta Trawniczek-Miskowiec, Maritime Office Szczecin - Legal aspects on lost net collection in port Dziwnow

Susanne Alvalter, S. Pro, Germany - A study on return systems for nets

Jan Joris Midavaine, Green Deal & Fishing for Litter, Netherlands - The "Green Deal" in the Netherlands - a cooperation between harbours, fishermen and authorities

Michael Hofmann, Ecophoenix Schwerin - High-quality polyethylen granulates from recycling products

Andrea Stolte, WWF Germany - Recycling options for lost fishing gear

Ulf Kramer, Vecoplan AG - Industrial schredders for fibre processing

Kai Schlögel, RWTH Aachen -  Thermal conversation of ghostnets: pyrolysis experiments

Thies von Appen, CleanCarbonConversation - Thermal evaporation of polymers (hydrolysis, steam reforming)

Xoán Lueiro, CETMAR - Experiences with fishing for litter & fishing gear management in Galicia

Mathilde Gueguen, Coopération Maritime - Pechpropre - a feasibility study on long-term management of plastics from the fishing industry

Harry Owen, Global GhostGear Initiative - GGGI - a global approach to ghost gear recovery

Luc Subal, ETH Zürich - Innovative net recycling projects