Oisterwijk, The Netherlands, March 22, 2013 -- Fiber maker Aquafil, ECNC Land & Sea Group and Star Sock have together established the "Healthy Seas, a Journey from Waste to Wear" initiative.
The main objective of this Healthy Seas initiative is to remove waste, in particular fishing nets and other marine litter from the seas and oceans for the purpose of creating healthier seas and recycling marine litter.
Recovered fishing nets are still often dumped into landfills or burned, but as part of the Healthy Seas initiative they will be transformed and regenerated into Aquafil's Econyl yarn for carpet and other textile products.
According to a joint report by FAO and UNEP, there are approximately 640,000 tons of abandoned fishing nets in the oceans, accounting for one-tenth of all marine litter.
These nets remain in the marine ecosystem for hundreds of years and are responsible for accidental capture of dolphins and other animals, such as turtles and marine birds, which often die once trapped.
The Healthy Seas initiative will be launched in three main phases and the detailed description of the relevant action plan will be made public before the end of April.
In the first phase, the Healthy Seas approach will be implemented in three pilot regions in Europe: the North Sea (Netherlands and Belgium), the Adriatic Sea (Italy, Slovenia and Croatia) and the Mediterranean Sea (Spain). The completion of this pilot phase will allow the three partners to identify the most efficient practice to adopt in the future expansion of the Initiative into other much wider areas.
The second phase will identify effective procedures which will discourage the abandonment of fishing nets at sea and will make available, encourage, and facilitate responsible handling of fishing nets at the end of their life, allowing their recovery and regeneration into new products.
During the third phase constructive proposals will be developed concerning implementable actions. These will be submitted to governments and legislators to ensure that the Healthy Seas Initiative will deliver long-term results and that public awareness will be maximized.