Fishing gear (nets, traps, etc.) are made from plastic materials that have an estimated lifetime of several hundred years, which is an issue if the gear is lost at sea. Indeed, they represent 27% of marine litter [EC,2018] generating more than 26 000 km of gear lost each year in the FCE area [ICES, FAO] and the consequences for the marine wildlife are devastating. The fishing and aquaculture market represents an important economic activity in the Channel area, with a 15% share of the European market. In a global approach to waste reduction, it is essential to adapt the lifetime of the material to its use.
To tackle this issue, the INdIGO project will reduce the total quantity of plastic present in the FCE area by 3% through the development of biodegradable fishing gear, by contributing to improve water quality and maintain biodiversity. INdIGO will also work to improve the prevention and management of pollution generated by machinery, by identifying existing recycling channels and developing an application to locate fishing gear already lost.
The project will cover the production chain of the fishing gear from formulation, filament manufacturing, to prototype net development. The deployment of the net at sea, durability tests, technical and economic analysis will then be undertaken. A life-cycle analysis will be completed to avoid pollution transfer.
The involvement of SMEs will ensure the economic sustainability of the project by exploiting the results of the project. This expertise of the sector will enable INdIGO to develop products that are adapted to the needs of the market and competitive with current alternatives, while reducing their impact on the environment.