Discarded fishing nets can be problematic when they end up in the environment. However, when recycled, they become a welcome resource.
Fishery is a sizeable industry in Iceland, comprising 30–35% of the country’s GDP. This naturally means that there are large volumes of discarded fishing nets to deal with. Úrvinnslusjóður, the Icelandic Recycling Fund, has set up a scheme that ensures their collection and recycling. The scheme is operated and financed by SFS (Fisheries Iceland), with the collaboration of the fishing industry and recyclers abroad. Vessel crews or fishing gear workshops manually separate the nets from the ropes, which are then deposited at collection stations or directly delivered to recyclers. Next, the nets are processed into new materials, for various applications. The recovery of fishing nets in Iceland is estimated to be ±80%, the majority of which is recycled. This scheme aims to stimulate the use of materials that are easier to recycle through exempting synthetic materials from recycling fees.
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Úrvinnslusjóður and Fisheries Iceland – Recycling fishing nets