Supermarket Morrisons has extended its partnership with Odyssey Innovation for another year to continue tackling ghost fishing gear and help to protect coastal wildlife and habitats.

Over the last four years, Morrisons has worked with Odyssey Innovation, which recovers and recycles waste marine plastic, to found and run the Net Regeneration Scheme, which has seen fishermen in the South West responsibly recycle 100t of waste gear to date.

Morrisons is the first and only supermarket to back a scheme that aims to tackle ghost fishing gear in British waters. Working with Odyssey Innovation – and in collaboration with Exeter City Council, Plymouth University and Seafish – Morrisons has helped to install waste skips at 10 ports across the South West to help fishermen to recycle unwanted or unusable gear.

Waste fishing gear accounts for 10% of global marine litter.

Odyssey Innovation’s Net Regeneration Scheme is the only one in the UK to offer free recycling of all types of fishing nets. It includes polyethylene trawl, nylon and other plastic generated by the fishing industry. Everything that can be recycled in the UK is, with specialist companies in Europe recycling problematic materials. The scheme covers the cost of transporting gear and the full recycling loop, with some plastic waste being turned into sea kayaks.

The programme also helps to reduce CO2 by putting recycled plastic back into the economy, which has a significant CO2 saving over using virgin plastic.

Joe Prosho, aquaculture manager at Morrisons, said: “Morrisons is one of the UK’s biggest suppliers of fresh British fish, with our own fishing business in the South West, and we are determined to play our full part in cleaning up the oceans to preserve marine life and protect the planet. We want to continue our partnership with Odyssey Innovation by supporting the Net Regeneration Scheme to contribute to reducing old fishing gear that is a problem for so much wildlife.”

Rob Thompson, director at Odyssey Innovation, said: “The Net Regeneration Scheme has only been made possible through collaboration, and through it, we work closely with the fishing communities, conservation groups, universities and government bodies.

“Working with Morrisons on this project has been an essential part of creating a collaborative scheme that benefits everyone involved. Getting the support from a big British fish supplier to help us, and others, tackle a problem that is growing in our seas has the added benefit of giving consumers confidence that the seafood they are consuming has been sourced in the most sustainable way.

“Discarded and unwanted fishing gear that is left in the seas can do real damage to our sea wildlife, and the Net Regeneration Scheme supports the fishing industry to become the best possible custodians of the sea.”

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.


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