Net-Works: Enabling fishing communities to sell waste fishing nets for carpet tile production

Net-Works is tackling the growing environmental problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities and supporting its second life as carpet tiles.

A collaboration between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and carpet tile manufacturer, Interface, Net-Works enable fishing communities in developing countries – including the Philippines and central Africa – to sell waste fishing nets into a global supply chain.

The Danajon Bank in the Philippines is one of only six double-barrier reefs in the world. Discarded nets take a toll on the environment and marine life there. The estimated length of nets discarded each year in this area, if laid out end to end, is 400 times the length of Danajon Bank – equivalent to 1.5 times the world’s circumference.

Yet fishing nets are also one of the most abundant sources of recyclable nylon in the world. Net-Works helps to ensure that end-of-life nets are no longer discarded in marine and freshwater ecosystems, but become an additional source of revenue for Philippine residents while preserving ocean life.

Under the scheme, Interface receives a fully recycled source of nylon for carpet tile production from local coastal communities, while the communities themselves receive an additional source of income and long-term incentives to protect their coasts and waters.

At the heart of Net-Works are the local community banks it sets up. The community-run banks provide access to finance in a way that is convenient and local, enabling people to save money, including their earnings from net sales, and take out small loans.

The banks also manage the local net supply chain: they organise coastal clean-ups, facilitate sales transactions and create “environment funds” to help finance local conservation projects.

Since 2012, the project has collected 142 tonnes of nets, provided 1,500 families with access to financial services and the supply chain, and enabled 62,000 people to benefit from a healthier environment.

Net-Works is currently seeking new locations and partners to help grow the programme.

Net-Works

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, and entertainments. Rosa also works as a psychic, counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com

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