The key partners in the Blue Circular Economy met up in Thurso in the Highlands of Scotland from 19th– 21stMarch to discuss the next stages of the three-year programme. The three days of meetings, presentations and site visits had a particular focus on the formations of clusters of organisations dealing in the business of recycling lost and discarded fishing gear, which is a key component of the project.
Presentations were received from Siv Marina Flo Grimstad (NTNU) Martin Charter (Centre for Sustainable Design), Clodagh Barry (Western Development Commission), Hajna Vaagen (NTNU), Paritosh Deshpande (NTNU), and Nina O’Hanlon (ERI).
On Thursday evening, the partners attended an open seminar at the Environmental Research Institute where Dr. Joan Darcy and Dr. Julien Moreau from Plastic@Bay presented their community interest company approach to the collection of marine waste from the North-West coast of Scotland, with a view to extracting value from the waste after it has been collected and sorted. They were very inspiring in their approach to progressing towards generating local economy from marine litter.
Blue Circular Economy seeks to get an understanding and show the linkages of the life cycle of fish equipment. 37% of all waste in the NPA-area’s ocean are from fisheries and 90% of this is plastic of which 51% is recycled and the rest is either lost, incinerated or put in landfills (source: circularocean.eu). Globally about 18% of plastic is recycled. A problem is that only about 19 companies worldwide recycle fishing gear, and of these about 5 is located in the NPA-area. There is a need to focus on waste reduction, it is more efficient than to clean-up, and we need to engage policy-makers and the public/fishers in order to accomplish this. The focus of this project is also on the marketing and branding of products made out of recycled fishing gear.
The partners will continue to grow the connected conversation across the stakeholders in the NPA geography. The partners will next meet from 11 – 13thJune in Galway, Ireland.