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Recovered ghost fishing net about to sett of for Germany to become jewellery, Source: Heritage Malta

Malta’s ghost nets become stylish jewellery

Malta’s ghost nets become stylish jewellery

Abandoned fishing gear is one of the most dangerous threats to the marine environment, but also to divers and underwater heritage

Abandoned fishing nets and gear can have catastrophic effects on the marine ecosystem, underwater heritage and diving. Even worse, this type of waste is usually made of plastics and lasting materials, which leads to decades of marine pollution.

Realising this, in 2020 Heritage Malta (a national agency responsible for the protection and promotion of cultural heritage sites in the island country) has launched a long-term project to remove the so-called “ghost fishing gear” from its underwater heritage and wreck sites. Following several removal actions, helped by local divers, the organisation managed to clear four protected wreck sites from ghost gear.

Upcycling marine waste

A couple of months ago, to make the removal action even more efficient, the country decided to put the recovered trash to good use through upcycling. Namely, to turn them into beautiful jewellery, which also raises awareness of the phenomenon of plastic marine waste.

To do this, Heritage Malta contacted Bracenet, a Hamburg-based company, the main activity of which is precisely to recycle ghost gear into goods. Thus started the collaboration which involves sending the recovered nets to Germany for recycling. The company then sells the items online.

Recycled fishing net
The items can be purchased online. Image: bracenet.net

Heritage Malta reminds that abandoned, lost or discharged fishing gear represent around one tenth of all plastic waste in our oceans and seas. It usually catches on large underwater items, such as shipwreck and stays there for decades, damaging the historic sites and marine life, posing threat to divers as well.

The latter have reported about the issue to the Agency, which led it to launching the long-term removal project. Removal actions will continue in the following months.

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