Wildcoast, the Imperial Beach-based coastal conservation group, has partnered with an online group to engage the local fishing community in an effort to re-use old fishing nets.
Bureo Inc., with offices in Redondo Beach, has addressed the challenges of end-of-life fishing nets, including the lack of access for proper disposal, by developing a collection and manufacturing program in California.
With support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Wildcoast, founded in 2000, has joined these efforts.
“Wildcoast is stoked to partner with Bureo, Inc. on this innovative effort to rid the oceans of discarded fishing nets and transform them into material for companies pushing the way forward for sustainable business practices. This is a win-win solution that benefits the ocean, fishermen and our economy,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, who also serves as executive director of Wildcoast.
Collected in five ports throughout Southern California and sent to Bureo’s collection hub in Oxnard, fishing nets are sorted, cleaned, shredded and packed for transport to Bureo’s processing partners. Major brand partners include Patagonia, Carver Skateboards and Jenga.
Bureo’s recycling program has grown to 50 ports throughout South America. Wildcoast will help support Bureo’s expansion to North America.
Wildcoast’s role in the project is to directly engage fishermen, community members and key stakeholders. Along with Bureo, the group developed plans and guides for local fisheries and communities to participate, while informing fishermen of various benefits, including free net collection and removal services, allowing them to avoid landfill and transportation fees.
In addition, accreditation is awarded to participants for their responsible disposal of materials.
Wildcoast and Bureo plan to schedule stakeholder workshops and location visits to each port, while continuing to foster relationships with fishermen along the coast of California.
More than 7.2 million pounds of fishing nets have been collected by Bureo, and over 13 million products have been made from NetPlus material since Bureo’s launch in 2013.
“Wildcoast’s experience across the Pacific coast in bringing communities together to protect marine environments makes them the perfect partner for this project. Our work is about empowering communities to create a positive solution for this once harmful material and we could not be more grateful for now doing this together with Wildcoast in our own backyard,” said Bureo co-founder Ben Kneppers.