Fishing and aquaculture are largely responsible for the large amounts of plastic waste that end up in the oceans. The plastic fishing gear they use contains various components and chemicals. For instance, the rope may be made of plastic containing metal wire. Now it appears that Norway’s SINTEF is joining hands with the Western Norway Research Institute (WNRI) to investigate how these plastics can be recycled and made into new products.

“With the exception of fishing nets and crab pots made of biodegradable materials, research of this type has never before been conducted on fishing and aquaculture equipment,” SINTEF said in a press release. Another important task involves finding out whether biodegradable plastics would be suitable for fishing gear leading to continued fishing.

Circular products

“This project should find new solutions that can contribute to the introduction of new circular products in the fisheries and aquaculture sector,” says Hans Jacob Walnum, project manager at WNRI. “There is everything in this: from new technologies to policy design and the answer to how completely new industries can be established,” he says.

A total of seven research partners are involved in the project, offering expertise in technology and politics, as well as 20 industrial partners and government agencies. The project started in early 2021 and will continue until mid-2025, with a budget of NOC 16.2 million (Norwegian Crowns).

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