From October 6-8, the Healthy Seas initiative in cooperation with Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund (AIPF), Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) and the Ghost Fishing Foundation is carrying out a mission in the Aeolian Islands to recover lost fishing nets. The mission is exclusively sponsored by Aquafil, with contributions from AIPF and BLUE.

According to UNEP and FAO reports, 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear are left in the seas and oceans each year. Endangered bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles, sperm whales, and dusky groupers, have been found entangled in nets near the Aeolian Islands and in the Tyrrhenian Sea, suffering unnecessarily and in many cases eventually dying.

Once recovered, the fishing nets will be cleaned and combined with other nylon waste materials, by Aquafil before being transformed into ECONYL® regenerated nylon, an infinitely recyclable raw material.

The project, also realized in collaboration with the Coast Guard and the Municipality of Lipari, will involve divers and local fishermen who will be directly involved in the recovery of the nets. The area of recovery will be concentrated between Lipari and the surrounding islands.

The long-term objective of the ghost net removal mission is to aid the process for the creation of a well-managed marine protected area (MPA) across the Aeolian archipelago by the Italian Government by contributing to the awareness of the local community towards the protection of the marine environment.

On October 8th, students of the IC Lipari primary school and the IC Santa Lucia secondary school will have the opportunity to meet the divers and learn about the problem of marine litter.

The Healthy Seas initiative has been operating for five years in the UK, Italy, Greece, Netherlands, and Belgium. During this time, in cooperation with volunteer divers and fishermen, the initiative has collected 375 tons of fishing nets from the seas and from land, the equivalent in weight of 2 blue whales.