Welsh harbours to benefit from Net Regeneration Scheme

Fishermen in the South West have recycled over 200,000 kilograms of fishing gear for free over the past six years as part of the Net Regeneration Scheme.

This is one of three recycling schemes offered by Odyssey Innovation and is aimed at harbours, fishermen, fisheries and net makers across the UK. The schemes aim to promote behavioural change by supporting stakeholders through offering preventative measures in order for them to be part of the solution to cleaner and safer seas, recycling end of life fishing gear such as whelk pots, buoys, ropes, nets, floating pontoons and any other recyclable plastics.

Now, the Welsh government, along with Odyssey Innovation, is to implement a small-scale replica of the Net Regeneration Scheme to serve as a pilot project focused on creating free port reception facilities in selected Welsh harbours (Milford Haven, Fishguard, Cardigan, Amlwch and Holyhead) to recycle fishing gear. It’s hoped that the move will help support the fishing community in tackling marine plastic.

The pilot project will engage with Welsh stakeholders such as fishing gear manufacturers, charities and beach-clean communities to maximise the benefit of the scheme to the local community and environment.

Part of the plastic coming through this scheme will be processed to be used by Odyssey innovation’s own award-winning circular products, the latest of which is a body surfing handplane.

“The Net Regeneration Scheme has only been made possible through collaboration, primarily between the fishing sector and conservation groups, further supported by universities and the government,” says Rob Thompson, MD. “This collaborative project between us, Welsh Government and fishing communities will showcase exemplary best practice in a sector where it is immensely needed; furthermore the quality of our seas and the aquatic flora and fauna within it will also benefit tremendously.”

Globally only 9% of plastic waste is recycled; 12% is incinerated, whilst the remaining 79% is either sent to landfill, stockpiled in developing countries or dumped on land or in the marine environment. The UN expects the amount of plastic in oceans to treble in the next 20 years, says Odyssey Innovation. All this is not due to the lack of recyclability but a lack of recycling infrastructure and consumer demand. For this reason, Odyssey Innovation says it has been pioneering new solutions to prevent further ocean plastic pollution by offering support to the fishing community, beach clean groups, governmental bodies and eco-warriors alike through various free sustainable incentives.

Odyssey Innovation’s Net Regeneration Scheme is the only scheme in the UK that offers free
net recycling solutions of Polyethylene trawl, Nylon and other plastic generated and recovered by the fishing industry. Everything that can be recycled in the UK is recycled locally.

Throughout the years, and thanks to the support of several grants, Odyssey Innovation has
been able to invest in the appropriate infrastructure (skips, bins, salaries, marketing, logistics) to scale its operations that were once restricted to a few harbours in Cornwall. The desire for positive change, particularly amongst the fishing industry, has been palpable in most cases. A strategic long term partnership with Exeter City Council’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) has also broadened Odyssey Innovation’s horizons by providing excellent collections services, state-of-the-art premises with facilities for processing and storing vast amounts of waste and most recently a part-investment in an industrial shredder to produce a marine plastic granulate which is now for sale and has an infinite and exciting amount of applications.

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