Fishing Nets Caught in Recycling

  • Initiative focused on turning used fishing nets into commercial opportunities
  • 5 countries joining forces to tackle marine waste

05th April 2019: Turning discarded fishing nets and other marine plastic waste into household products, is one the aims of the NPAP Blue Circular Economy project (, which was launched this week by the Western Development Commission, who are one of the key BCE partners. 

This follows the vote by the European Parliament to ban the use of single-use plastic items such as straws, forks, knives on Wednesday of this week.  This directive will require “proper waste management infrastructure and sufficient recycling facilities to achieve the objectives of this directive,” according to Euro Commerce Director-General Christian Verschueren.

Blue Circular Economy is funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme and aims to help Small and Medium-Sized enterprises (SMEs) offering products and services, within fishing gear recycling solutions, to attain a great market reach.

The three year programme, with partners in Ireland, Norway, Scotland, England and Greeland, will promote and support companies to create sustainable industries in the recovery and recycling of used fishing nets into commercial products.  It will achieve this through stimulating demand for FNRCs (Fishing Nets Ropes and Components) products and through the support & creation of sustainable business models for SMEs in the NPA-region.

Used and discarded fishing nets and waste plastic found in our oceans poses a major threat to the ocean environment, with the total economic damage of marine plastic waste estimated at almost €12 billion per year.

Commenting on the programme Clodagh Barry, Regional Development, WDC said “Currently there is low level of recycling of used and discarded fishing nets and other marine plastics.  Through the Blue Circular Ocean project we will create the structures and awareness of the commercial opportunities to turn this waste hazard into products.  Through the lifetime of this project we will form clusters with business groups, sectoral and public authorities and are also calling on interest groups and the general public to become involved. In addition, the concept of Innovation lab will be road tested in Galway in Ireland and Alesund in Norway.

The Blue Circular Economy programme will include conferences and information sessions, research with universities and the development of an eco-brand to support the development of businesses in recycling of used fishing gear and those products from waste nets and components.  A series of webinars will take place over coming months to inform SMEs in the NPA Region of the commercial opportunities through the programme.  Interested parties should email: or follow Twitter  #bluecirculareconomy

Notes to the Editor:

About Blue Circular Economy

Established in 2018 the Blue Circular Economy is a partnership between Western Development Commission, Technical University of Denmark, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, The Centre for Sustainable Design® at UCA, and the Environmental Research Institute.  The three year programme is funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic 2014-2020 programme.  Full details on

About Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme

The Northern Periphery and Arctic 2014-2020 ( forms a cooperation between 9 programme partner countries. The NPA 2014-2020 is part of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and ERDF equivalent funding from non EU partner countries

Western Development Commission

The Western Development Commission is a statutory body under the aegis of the Department of Rural and Community Development that has the remit to promote both social and economic development in the western counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare.  The WDC also adds value and regional focus to the work of national bodies, and actively engages with regional interests to initiate projects that build on the region’s strengths.