Meet one of the nominees for the Sustainability Award in the 2023 Fishing News Awards: Journey Blue
“Journey Blue has been set up to change behaviours,” Alistair Lawson (pictured above) told Fishing News. He and his wife Louise came up with the ocean recovery retail concept during the first Covid lockdown in 2020.
“This is done through our online retail site that sells outdoor, travel and adventure products made both from and for the ocean, by changing buying habits and making the sustainable option the first and only option, and also through our Net Collect Programme, offering a free recycling service to fishermen and local communities.”
Alistair and Louise say that Journey Blue, which has been in operation now for almost two years, has proven that ‘our programme works and is applicable to all areas that have to tackle this issue’.
“There are many reports stating that harbours would encourage a recycling scheme that are yet to have one implemented. If we can gather traction and move fast, we can really make a big difference to the coastal regions of the UK and beyond. We’ve proven it works, and now just need to roll it out.”
Journey Blue is set up as a limited company, with the Journey Blue Net Collect Programme as a CIC. The long-term goal is to fund the net collection programme through a portion of the profit from the limited company.
“Our project offers fishermen a free-to-use, end-of-life gear recycling programme. A significant amount of end-of-life gear currently goes to landfill or, worse, is left at sea. We place a decommissioned shipping container at harbours. Access is given mainly to fishermen, but also to beach clean activists, to deposit old gear.
“Our project aims to change behaviours within the fishing community by changing instilled habits. We hope that by offering this service, people will see the benefit both environmentally and financially,” said Alistair.
Journey Blue has piloted its programme over the last two years in Scarborough and Whitby, and recently aligned itself with a local sub-aqua club and Sea Shepherd ghost net activists to increase the amount of material recovered.
“Once or twice a year we manually sort and bag all the material, which is then transported to our recycler. To date, our containers have allowed us to recycle in the region of 4t of material.”
With a container due to be installed in Blyth next month, Alistair and Louise say the aim is to continue to grow the project and increase awareness along the east coast and into Scotland, with more containers in areas that need them.
The Sustainability Award is sponsored by The Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust. Find out more about them here.