Project E-REDES - Enhancing biodegradable fishnets to promote sustainability: a pilot study in the Northern Littoral Natural Park, is a pilot study promoted by the Municipality, in partnership with the municipal company Esposende Ambiente, the University of Minho and the Environmental Association - Rio Neiva which aims to prevent and raise awareness to reduce marine litter.
The ecological and socio-economic problems caused by non-degradable plastics has become one of the most serious problems worldwide. Marine gillnets and trammel nets, made by synthetic materials, are used by the local artesanal fishing fleet and have a direct impact as marine debris, besides the high ghost fishing potential which affects non-target species including seabirds, sea turtles, marine mammals and elasmobranchs, some of which are endangered, threatened or protected. As a result of all these problems, marine pollution caused by non-degradable plastics has become one of the most serious problems worldwide.
The E-Redes project is a pilot study promoted by the Municipality of Esposende, in partnership with the municipal company Esposende Ambiente, the University of Minho and the Environmental Defense Association - Rio Neiva, which aims to promote the use of biodegradable nets and, consequently, enable the reduction of synthetic plastic material in the ocean. Biodegradable gillnets and trammel nets will be provided to the fishing community in an unprecedented pilot test.
The effect of this initiative on the reduction of ghost fishing and of synthetic plastic materials in the ocean will be assessed. Alongside, a thorough study and update of the state of knowledge will be conducted in order to determine the physical properties to be measured, the procedures to be adopted in the characterization of the degradation of biodegradable monofilaments, to promote the capacity building for producing fishing gear from selected biodegradable monofilaments, and to compare the fishing performance of nets made of conventional nylon and of the biodegradable material. Subsequently the sustainability of using biodegradable materials versus conventional synthetic gear will be assessed considering economic (costs and local economy), environmental (ecosystems health and biodiversity) and social (traditions and local practices) factors.
Another key challenge in this project is to identify litter sources and evaluate the amount and nature present on beaches. This information is crucial to take action against the sources of marine litter and help to design future management measures to tackle this challenge, based on systematic and consistent monitoring to provide decision makers with the evidence needed to take action. The final challenge is the promotion of awareness in the community.
It should also be noted that the E-Redes project contributes to the fulfillment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, namely SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities, SDG 12 - Sustainable production and consumption, SDG 14 – Life below water and the SDG 17 - Partnerships for Sustainable Development.
The project is financed by EEA Grants under the Call Small Grants Scheme #1 – Projects to prevent and raise awareness to reduce marine litter.