01 May 2019

Less ghostnets, More seahorses

From 18th – 20th May 2019, Healthy Seas will carry out its 2nd mission in Stratoni, a coastal town in Northern Greece, making good on our promise to return to complete cleaning up the seabed of ghost fishing nets.

The recovery mission is being carried out in collaboration with Ghost Fishing Greece, Ghost Fishing Netherlands, AquaTec and UFR Team diving teams as well as Northern Greece Underwater Explorers, with valuable support from the local community.

Ghost nets are destroying the marine ecosystem by remaining in the water and continuing to fish without human involvement for hundreds of years, attracting predators that are potentially a threat for the local population of seahorses. Their removal will help restore the habitat’s previously held ecological balance, thus aiding the survival of the species which is currently classified as near threatened by the IUCN Red List.

An interactive education program for the local children will also be carried out aiming at supporting the residents of the environmentally degraded area, whose livelihoods depend on working in the mining or fishing industries.

The fishing nets will be transported to Diopas S.A, a partner of Healthy Seas in Northern Greece. From there, they will be sent to Nofir A.S for cleaning and sorting and then on to Aquafil’s plant in Slovenia to be regenerated, together with other nylon waste, into ECONYL® yarn, the infinitely recyclable material. This will provide the basis for beautiful new products such as socks, sportswear, swimwear, and carpets. Healthy Seas is an excellent example of the circular economy, where waste is a resource.

This is the first of 4 main events Healthy Seas will carry out during 2019, doing its part to protect the marine environment through ghost net cleanups and raising public awareness besides the regular activities organized throughout the year. The initiative is responsible for the recovery of ghost nets from the seas for the purpose of creating healthier seas and recycling marine litter into textile products.

First Mission (November 2018)

Last November, during a 3-day mission, the team removed over 1 ton of ghost nets, but many more are continuing to pollute the area close to a unique seahorse colony.

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