Design for Circular Fishing Gear  

Circular Economy
Bild från västkusten, sjöbodar
Design for circular fishing gear is one of several sub-projects within the Swedish Maritime and Water Authority’s (HaV) government mandate on the collection of fishing gear and recreational boats.

Every year, significant amounts of fishing gear are lost in Swedish waters, which is problematic for wildlife in seas and lakes. Lost nets and cages can continue to “ghost fish” for many years and when the material eventually breaks down, it gives rise to microplastics. HaV is now working to create the conditions for well-founded and effective cleaning efforts in prioritized areas. The mission also includes preventing the loss of equipment, for example through targeted information efforts. 

The project contributes to the development of circular fishing gear, to prevent lost gear from becoming a source of marine debris and to contribute to a circular economy. During the project period, a shrimp trawl will be produced based on a series of criteria to promote this development. These criteria include: a reduction in the amount of material used for increased resource efficiency and the possibility of disassembly and repair for increased lifespan. The project will also identify different labelling solutions to contribute to the development of increased traceability of fishing gear. 

Chalmers Industriteknik is contracted by HaV to project manage and implement the project in collaboration with the Nordic Fishermen’s Association (Fiskarföreningen Norden) and Sotenäs municipality. Chalmers Industriteknik is familiar with the development of circular strategy for business models as well as criteria for circularity when designing fishing gear. 

What does the government mission mean?
In order to reduce littering in our waters and contribute to a circular, non-toxic economy, the government has tasked HaV with investigating, proposing and implementing various measures aimed at collecting and recycling lost fishing gear and recreational boats. 

Project participants
The Nordic Fishermen’s Association has experience in trawl manufacturing and sustainable fishing, and the circular shrimp trawl is designed and assembled on site at their premises in Smögen. It will then be tested by fishermen to give the project data and input about its design and capacity. 

Sotenäs municipality runs the Sotenäs marine recycling center, which is the only one of its kind in Sweden. At the marine recycling center, end-of-life fishing gear is collected and sorted for recycling and reuse. The municipality is also working to develop producer responsibility guidelines for fishing gear and circular flows. In the project, the municipality is responsible for communications and managing the strategic cooperation between the various stakeholders. 

We have achieved this so far in the project
We have developed, built and tested the circular shrimp trawl. We have identified obstacles in the legislation regarding labelling solutions for fishing gear. We have also identified what types of labels exist for fishing gear, such as labelled, or unlabeled, identification by owner and material content as well as identifying where lost fishing gear is found. 

This is what we have achieved so far:
Design for circular fishing gear

Do you want to know more?

Nils Ólafur Egilsson

Project Manager, MSc

Maria Hammar

Group leader Circular economy

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