GGGI PROJECT: Alaska - Net Recovery and Recycling

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Nicole Baker photo

Nicole Baker photo

Project Overview

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 end-of-life fishing nets around the island. The purpose of this project, now in its second year of implementation (2018), is to collect and transport end-of-life fishing nets from Dutch Harbour and Kodiak, Alaska to Denmark where they will be recycled by GGGI participant Plastix Global and enter back into the economy as a basic plastic commodity.

Project Methodology

This relies on a multi-step logistical chain set up by Net Your Problem and Plastix Global:

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

  2. Boat captains identify and tag their end-of-life nets in preparation for transport;

  3. Collection of nets from various net yards which are then transported over land by either Swan Nets or Aleutian Expeditors;

  4. Nets are loaded by OSI staff or Aleutian Expeditors into Maersk containers for transport to Aarhus, Denmark for recycling;

  5. Plastix Global then retrieves the containers upon notification that they have arrived in Aarhus and transports them to their facility in Lemvig, Denmark for recycling.

Project Outcomes

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 incorporates the following key elements:

  • Work collaboratively with the fishing industry in Alaska to provide a beneficial, viable and convenient solution for fishers to end-of-life nets;

  • 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 the initial 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 is an example of best practice to be replicated elsewhere where there is a large volume of end-of-life nets.

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