Abandoned plastic fishing nets are a huge problem

Millions of animals, including whales, seals, turtles and birds, are mutilated and killed by ‘ghost’ fishing gear – nets, lines and traps that are abandoned, lost or discarded in our oceans each year.

According to WorldOceanfestorg, “Abandoned plastic fishing nets are a significant part of the problem. These nets can travel long distances from their points of origin and can remain in the ocean long after they are discarded, resulting in the entrapment and death of marine mammals, sea birds and fish. The result is an increasingly critical global threat to marine life.”

There is an estimated 640,000 tons (1.28 billion pounds) of fishing gear left in the ocean each year, according to World Animal Protection. Read “Fishing’s phantom menace: How ghost fishing gear is endangering our sea life” here.

According to this 2014 report:

  • 25,000 nets in the north-east Atlantic were recorded lost or discarded annually.
  • 1 ghost net can kill… $20,000 (USD) worth of Dungeness crab over 10 years.
  • 870 nets recovered in the US contained more than… 32,000 marine animals.

Upcycling Discarded Fishing Nets

DSM and Starboard are transforming discarded fishing nets into high-end paddleboard components. DSM collects 2000 tons of discarded fishing nets annually from the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. They sort, clean, and process the materials into a plastic-based product called Akulon that can then be used by Starboard to manufacture fins, leash plugs, fin boxes, and pumps for inflatable boards with the goal of eventually producing all future plastic products with this incredible upcycled material.

Creating jobs

DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about €10 billion with approximately 23,000 employees. To create a company that not only cleans out oceans, but creates jobs and products from the recycling and upcycling of these materials is amazing.

Starboard is Carbon Neutral

Starboard has had a very successful program to plant a mangrove tree for every board sold in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Parks in Myanmar. So far they have planted over 100,000 mangroves – making them carbon net positive. Starboard calculates their carbon footprint yearly and gives out a report for everyone to read, aiming to be completely transparent about their impact on the planet. Their whole carbon footprint is offset by mangroves unique carbon storage abilities. If you are interested, you can see how they calculate their footprint here.

This is a great part of their overall commitment

We applaud Starboard for taking the initiative to upcycle materials in their effort to go beyond being carbon neutral and a positive organization for environmental change. It’s amazing to see arguably the largest SUP company on the planet leading the charge to make our oceans and planet safer and healthier while at the same time, creating some of the best designed and manufactured products in our sport. Really well done.

 

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