Session Chairs: Christina Dixon, World Animal Protection / Global Ghost Gear Initiative; Joan Drinkwin, Natural Resource Consultants

This session will focus on international examples for coastal communities and fishing industry stakeholders of how innovative ideas and cross-sectoral collaborations are creating financial and environmental benefits while facilitating the reduction of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG)

In this session the Global Ghost Gear Initiative ‘Catalyse and Replicate Solutions Working Group’ brings together global experts who are leading on the research, development and management of sustainable, replicable solutions to facilitate the removal, reduction and recycling of abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear.
This session aims to move away from a focus on the problem and look at solutions that are working around the world to engage and mobilise the fishing industry, coastal communities, designers and the private sector to think laterally and collaboratively to reduce the abundance of ghost gear in our oceans. The speakers will shine a light on examples of how circular economy thinking and innovation is providing opportunities to practically stem the tide of end of life fishing gear into the sea and transform this waste into a resource.
The audience will come away with concrete examples of successful solution projects and the start of a toolkit of how the circular economy model can be implemented to reduce the impact of ghost gear in our oceans.




Challenges and Opportunities for Collecting and Recycling End of Life Fishing Gear

presenting: Christina Dixon (World Animal Protection, United Kingdom); authors: Christina Dixon (World Animal Protection, United Kingdom)

With an estimated 640,000 tons entering our oceans annually, discarded fishing gear has become recognized as one of the most harmful forms of plastic pollution to marine mammals and ecosystems. One of the main reasons for this material becoming such a large source of plastic pollution is the limited waste management infrastructure available in coastal areas for when the fishing gear meets its end of life. By working together with fishermen, organizations around the world are finding ways to transform this material that was once considered a harmful burden into a valuable resources through the innovative process of collecting and recycling discarded fishing gear. This talk will provide an overview of the global landscape of fishing gear collection and recycling, highlighting challenges, opportunities and contextual specifics around plastic types gathered from research and interaction with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative solutions working group to set the scene for a discussion on the circular economy of end of life fishing gear.


Design-led circular economy solutions to marine plastic and ghost gear

presenting: Claire Potter (Claire Potter Design, United Kingdom); authors: Claire Potter (Claire Potter Design, United Kingdom)

Whilst ghost gear and marine litter are creating a global oceanic pollution crisis, there are huge opportunities to be gained – particularly in terms of circular economy thinking. Recovered materials show huge promise for re-introduction into new products that could allow a different type of material stream.

As a member of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and active member of the working group, Replicating Solutions, Claire Potter brings her experience of running a marine plastic focused circular economy design studio to both the GGGI and as a proposed speaker on the panel of this session.

With a focus on products that could be created from marine plastic waste, the Claire Potter Design have been integrating marine plastic and ghost gear into their one-off and short run, design led pieces shown at Clerkenwell Design Week and 100% Design in the UK since 2015, bringing the issues to a wider consumer audience. The studio is also heading up an Innovate UK co-funded project which will identify, categorise and explore how ghost gear can be remanufactured locally in design/make hubs around the coast of the UK. It is proposed that the learnings from this project will also be launched at the 6IMDC (also submitted separately for a poster submission in this track)


Insights from the Fishing Industry for a sustainable circular economy: Understanding the current situation in fishing areas of the Arctic and identifying ways to go forward.

presenting: Heidi R. Nilsen (Norut Northern Research Institute, Norway); authors: Heidi R. Nilsen (Norut Northern Research Institute, Norway), Anne Katrine Normann (Norut Northern Research Institute), Kayleigh J. Wyles (University of Surrey), Ludmila Ivanova (Kola Science Centre), Galina Kharitonova (Kola Science Centre), Jannike Falk-Andersson (Norut Northern Research Institute)

To complement ongoing scientific work towards a circular economy, the fishing industry is a valuable resource in terms of understanding the current state, composition, and impacts of marine litter. Also, optimistically, it is an industry that can help design and implement initiatives to prevent and reduce marine litter and consequences like ghost fishing. This paper will present results from the international research project Marine Plastic Pollution in the Arctic: origin, status, costs and incentives for Prevention ( and in specific results from a survey distributed to approximately 5000 commercial fishers in Norway and in the Kola region in Russia. The paper will contribute with insights for a sustainable circular economy, and combining it with the priorities of the waste hierarchy (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). It is a cross-disciplinary work building on management, ecological economics, environmental psychology, ecology and human geography, in addition to a close cooperation with fishermen organizations in Norway and Russia, NGOs and researchers within the natural sciences. Using fishers’ first-hand experiences, the survey addresses the current status of type and amount of marine litter in their catch, waste facilities in ports, and is also exploring their knowledge and attitudes towards marine litter. Preliminary findings from the survey to Norwegian fishers demonstrate that they acknowledge that it is litter deriving from fishing which dominates in their catch. These fishers report that this litter decreases fishing efficiency and creates worries for the reputation of fish from these waters, and that the waste management facilities in harbors are insufficient.


A novel material recycling pathway for ghost fishing gear – lessons from Germany

presenting: Falk Schneider (University of Bath, Germany); authors: Falk Schneider (University of Bath, Germany), Sophie Parsons (University of Bath), Sally Clift (University of Bath), Andrea Stolte (World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Germany), Michael Krueger (Toensmeier), Marcelle C. McManus (University of Bath)

Ghost fishing – the catch of marine life with abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) – has severe environmental and economic impacts. A common way to eliminate ghost fishing is the removal of ALDFG from the ocean. Yet, collected ghost fishing gear is typically landfilled or incinerated which is not in line with circular economy aspirations.

In 2016, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Germany and the recycling company Toensmeier collected approximately five tonnes of ghost fishing gear from the Baltic Sea for which sustainable waste treatment pathways are currently investigated. In order to test a novel recycling pathway two tonnes of the collected material were sent to the machine manufacturer Vecoplan where several pre-treatment steps, including sorting, shredding, density separation and cleaning were conducted. Input, output and process data were collected and a material flow analysis was performed. Samples of the cleaned synthetic fibres were sent to the plastic pellet producer EREMA to examine their potential use.

The contamination of ghost fishing gear with dead fish, lead lines, anchors and sand, along with mixed synthetic fibre material impede the recycling process of high-value nylon and other polymers. In this presentation, the results of recycling tests, including process related obstacles and challenges which currently impact the useability of ghost fishing gear in view of an expanding circular economy are presented.


Investigating how Ghost Gear and Marine Plastics can become Precious Plastics

presenting: Jacob Arney (Claire Potter Design, United Kingdom); authors: Jacob Arney (Claire Potter Design, United Kingdom), Claire Potter (Claire Potter Design)

Claire Potter Design is leading an Innovate UK funded research project to investigate how Ghost Gear and Marine Plastics can be reintegrated into new product streams to form precious plastics in the Brighton area.

With plastics and plastic fishing gear lasting up to 600 years in our oceans, the exponential growth is of great environmental concern, but from Circular Economy terms, it creates opportunity for recovery and reintroduction into newly designed products that align with changing consumer aspirations. Working directly with a local fish importer, MCB Seafoods and the Centre for Sustainable Design as sub-contractors, ghost gear / plastics are being investigated, understood and recovered in a collaborative project working directly with local Brighton fishers and designers, ghost gear will be subjected to a series of innovative, small scale, fast re-manufacturing methods that not only test the possibilities of the materials, but also the wider public response to the resulting concept prototypes made from ghost gear. The project will include the production of small-scale re-manufacturing equipment that can be used to create fast prototype concept products. This machinery and accompanying business model can then be replicated following the project findings; initially in the UK and then further afield.

The results of the project stages are open source and updated throughout, with final project presentations taking place from 5th March 2018. The 6IMDC would be an ideal opportunity to showcase these findings.


Creating Connections Between Non-profit Clean-up Organizations, Small Businesses, & General Public 

presenting: Brittany Webster (Planet Love Life, United States); authors: Brittany Webster (Planet Love Life, United States), Robert Webster (Planet Love Life)

Planet Love Life upcycles salvaged ALDFG from beach & ocean cleanup projects around the world. Our wearable marine debris products are a physical and visual reminder of the marine debris issue. Each bracelet represents a different marine animal that is negatively affected by marine debris and can be used as a platform to create positive conversations leading to solutions of these issues. By providing a connection between marine debris and specific animal species of marine life, we are then able to create an emotional connection with consumers and the impact their actions have on the marine environment. The sales and profit from of our products can help to fund local cleanups and provide a fundraising tool for non-profit organizations.