Dutch Harbor, Alaska - Net Recovery and Recycling

  Nicole Baker photo

Nicole Baker photo

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 fishing 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 Harbour, Alaska to Denmark where they will be recycled by Plastix Global and enter back into the economy as a basic plastic commodity. This will rely on a multi-step logistical chain:

  1. Outreach to various fishing companies and boat captains operating in Dutch Harbor and subsequent agreements 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, bundled by Swan Nets, and stored at OSI facilities;

  4. Bundled nets will be loaded by OSI staff into Maersk containers provided by Plastix for transport to Aarhus, Denmark in September / October 2017

Plastix Global will retrieve containers upon notification that they have arrived and transport them to their facility in Lemvig, Denmark for recycling.

GGGI are very 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 on to 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 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

  • Mass of accumulated gear

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, please get in touch with Elizabeth Hogan at ehogan@worldanimalprotection.org.