Alaska Net Recovery and Recycling

The GGGI is proud to report on our latest project led by World Animal Protection, aiming to collaborate with other GGGI participants including Plastix, NOAA, and Trident Seafood.

Dutch Harbor, Alaska has been the leading seafood port in the United States for twenty years, landing 762 million pounds of seafood in 2014, valued at almost $200 million. However, despite its role as a major hub for the seafood industry, there is no established means of disposal for end-of-life fishing gear in Dutch Harbor.  The high volume of fishing activity combined with the remote location and lack of established transport has produced a substantial backlog of derelict fishing nets around the island.  The immediate purpose of this project is to collect and transport end-of-life fishing nets from Dutch Harbor, Alaska and transport them to the Port of Seattle, where they can be collected, transported, and ultimately recycled back into a closed loop production system by Plastix in Denmark. This will rely on a multi-step logistical chain:

  1. Outreach to various fishing companies and boat captains operating in Dutch Harbor, and subsequent agreement to participate.

  2. Boat captains must identify and tag their derelict nets in June of 2017. 

  3. Collection of nets from various net yards throughout June – September 2017. Nets will be transported overland and bundled by Swan Nets, and stored at OSI facilities.

  4. Bundled nets to be loaded by Trident staff aboard Trident ships for transport in September or November 2017 from Dutch Harbor to piers 24-25 at Port of Tacoma, Washington.

  5. Nets to then be transported from Port of Tacoma to Port of Seattle by Trident for transfer to Maersk shipping containers provided by Plastix.  Potential for Schnitzer Steel to participate in net storage at Port of Tacoma if needed (TBC)

  6. Plastix to retrieve containers upon notification that they are full and transport to Denmark for recycling.

GGGI are pleased to endorse this solution project. The project went through a rigorous approval process; first through the cross-working group Project Review Board, and then onto the GGGI Steering Group for final sign off. This pilot project will incorporate the following key elements:

  • Demonstrate the viable re-use of end-of-life gear as an economic commodity via a cost-effective means of transport

  • Develop a model which can be replicated and integrated into routine activities within the fishing and shipping industries 

  • Develop commitment from local fishing industry partners to build on the work done over the course of the project and its outcomes in order to secure longer term sustainability and expansion from this pilot.

  • Produce data outputs that will build evidence of the end-of-life gear problem in the project location, while supporting the development of a practical approach to addressing the problem. Data outputs include:

    • Gear type

    • Fishery type

    • Amount of gear by weight

The resulting logistical system can then be promoted by the GGGI and any project partners as an example of best practice to be replicated elsewhere.

GGGI are looking for funders for this project. If you wish to contribute to the funding of this project or would like more information, then please get in touch Elizabeth Hogan, ehogan@worldanimalprotection.org.

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