Company recycles old Alaskan fishing gear into new clothing


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Grundens is using recycled plastics from old fishing gear for a new line of rugged casual wear, and the first batch contains contributions from Cordova.

Grundens, whose motto is “We Fish”, is the go-to brand for outerwear and all-weather clothing for sailors around the world. The company, which originated in Sweden in 1911, launched its NetSource collection this spring. Men’s shorts and women’s leggings use ECONYL, a reclaimed nylon fabric that uses recycled fishing nets as a raw material.

The company linked to the Copper River Watershed Project which collects the fishing nets and prepares them for shipment to Europe, where they are recycled into plastic granules or, in this case, fibers.

“We think it’s really important to use our brand voice to help protect and maintain healthy marine environments and to lend a helping hand where we can,” said Mat Jackson, Chief Marketing Officer by Grundens. At some point, you just have to start doing it. And Cordova seemed like a tangible opportunity.

“Cordova is going full steam ahead,” said Nicole Baker of Solve your problem who helped establish the connection with the Grundens. Baker, a former Bering Sea Fisheries Observer, has helped revive Alaskan gear recycling programs since 2017.

“The gillnet fleet is quite composed and the seines are made from the same type of plastic, so these two types of gear can be recycled together,” she added.

“Right now this is only a small part of our overall collection, but we are looking to expand it to other items, including clothing for inclement weather. It’s something we really believe in, ”said Grundens spokesperson Corey Lowe.

“We are aware of the amount of ghost nets and plastics in the ocean, so whether we do it or our competitors do, we want more nets to end up in the recycling supply chain. We see this as a rising tide that lifts all boats and is positive for the industry as a whole, ”Lowe said.

He added: “I hope when the fishermen buy us something later, it’s pretty cool to think that my net is now hanging off my shoulders like a jacket or something.”

Grundéns now also uses 100% biodegradable packaging called PLA whose raw material is glucose from corn starch. It breaks down completely in less than a year. By June 2021, all products will be shipped in environmentally friendly compostable packaging. “Grundéns is encouraging other brands to follow suit and increase the speed at which poly plastic bags are eliminated from the clothing supply chain,” a press report said.

Recycling road trip – Grundens also has an eye on old fishing gear in Bristol Bay, where the Borough will discuss a request for funding from Solve your problem at its meeting on June 7.

Founder Nicole Baker said she had “interim commitments” from the Regional Seafood Development Association, Bristol Bay Economic Development Council and Grundens to help pay for the first year of retraining there.

“If this is approved, keep your fingers crossed, we can start in 2022,” Baker said.

She and the team members will also be in Cordoba on June 8 and Homer in mid-June to chat with people about setting up a program there. They will head to Dutch Harbor on June 18th.

“We’re going to work with the city to sort the landfill and recycle what we can, and also to push the boats to recycle,” Baker said.

In Southeast Alaska, Friends of Recycling in Haines collects fishing nets, and RecycleWorks in Juneau does the same in Aurora Harbor. Kodiak is still accepting trawls and “things are being done” for other gear, Baker said.

The Dillingham program is obsolete, Baker said, and the landfill there does not accept fishing nets.

“I hope these two forces will encourage fishermen and other businesses to work with us to get something back on track,” she said.

Baker is conducting a survey to estimate the amount of fishing gear available for recycling in Alaska and said that “every fisherman, except one, said he thought recycling was a better option for its equipment as the dump.

The problem, she added, is “how to pay for it. Do our values ​​and morals match our budgets and other alternative costs? “

Much of it depends on human behavior.

Net Your Problem is one of 10 finalists in a global “Solution Finder” competition for solutions to plastic pollution that rely on behavior change.

Dutch starts again – Dutch Harbor easily retained the title of the country’s top fishing port, Naknek claimed second place in terms of dollars crossing the docks, and salmon overturned lobster as America’s most valuable fish.

Dutch Harbor was the main fish landing port for the 23rd consecutive year with £ 763 million valued at $ 190 million.

The Aleutian Islands, home to North America’s largest processing plant at Akutan, rank second (589 million pounds / $ 142 million) and Kodiak third in landings (397 million pounds / $ 120 million).

For value, New Bedford, Massachusetts held the top spot for 20 years at $ 451 million, due to expensive scallop landings.

Naknek ranked second in catch value with $ 289m for £ 206m, followed by Aleutians ($ 149m), Bristol Bay ($ 129m) and Kodiak ($ ​​120m) .

Eight Alaska ports (40%) were in the top 20 for landings and seafood value and accounted for 24% of the top 50.

Of all the seafood species caught by American fishermen, Pacific salmon had the highest value at $ 707 million for 840 million pounds. Alaska accounted for 99 percent of the total salmon catch in the United States.

The average price of salmon for Alaskan fishermen was 81 cents per pound, up from 99 cents in 2018.

Alaska pollock was at the top of fish made into fillets and other shapes (1.6 billion pounds / $ 2.2 billion). The second was sockeye (211 million pounds / $ 1 billion).

In total, the US fisheries produced 9.3 billion pounds in 2019 worth $ 5.5 billion, on par with the previous year.

Sixty percent of the US catch and 33% of the value was generated by the Alaskan fisheries.

The United States imported 6 billion pounds of seafood ($ 22.2 billion) and exported 2.8 billion pounds ($ 5.2 billion) for a trade deficit of $ 17 billion.

For recreational fishing, spotted trout were the first catch of American fishermen, followed by black bass and tassard.

And Americans ate slightly more seafood – 19.2 pounds per person, up two-tenths from 2018.

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About Derick Walton

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