Science & technology

AZTI – BlueNet Project

Basque Country, Spain


BLUENET project aims at reducing the marine litter from fishing and aquaculture. Thanks to the co-working between the fishing/aquaculture industry and scientific community, BLUENET works on finding solutions to recover marine litter and to give a second life to the discarded plastics.

The fishing and aquaculture industry plays an important role in the coastal economies of the Northern regions of Spain. Despite these industries contribute significantly to marine litter, the sector, however, is active and willing to find solutions to address the problems associated to marine litter. BLUENET arises from the need of these industries to cope with this environmental challenge and become more litter conscious. Led by AZTI, this EU co-funded project is formed by research centers GAIKER and Next Technology Tecnotessile, which are experts on plastic materials and circular economy, and Itsaskorda, a well-experienced rope manufacturer.

BLUENET promotes the proactivity of the sectors in combating marine litter, through ocean literacy. We have collaborated with local fishing and maritime colleges to train future professionals on the protection of the environment, and in marine litter in particular.

We are working with local, regional, national, and international governments and scientists to establish a coordinated management strategy to facilitate the recovery of discarded fishing and aquaculture nets, ALDFG, and marine litter in general, so there is no obstacle in managing them efficiently. We promote the participation of our local fishing industry in the Fishing for Litter initiative, as a way to prevent the intentional and unintentional disposal of nets and ropes at the sea and to clean the ocean.

The recovered nets and ropes are being recycled mechanically. And with the recycled pellets new polyamide and polyolefin ropes are being manufactured for offshore long-line mussel production. Therefore, the benefit is aimed to be reverted into the sector that has produced the discarded material on the first place, and thus, closing the loop.

With the work started in BLUENET we aim at:
– setting up a self –sustaining program for recycling ALDFG from fisheries and aquaculture
– providing alternative and sustainable designs for fishing and aquaculture gears
– testing the suitability of integrating recycled raw materials in net- and rope-manufacturing
– providing a feedback to the EU Strategy on Plastics regarding the plastic used in fishing and aquaculture
– estimating marine litter generated by offshore aquaculture
– promote networking with ongoing and past projects on marine litter from fishing and aquaculture for, altogether, providing a feedback to the implementation of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Common Fishery Policy, Aquaculture development strategies, the Directive on Port Reception Facilities, and Strategy on Plastics in a Circular Economy.

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