UNALASKA, Alaska — About 80 huge fishing nets from the Aleutian Island city of Unalaska are on their way to Denmark, where a company will recycle the retired gear into plastic pellets.

The nets weigh between 5,000 to 20,000 pounds (2,270 to 9,070 kilograms) each, making it difficult to ship them — or even find a place to take them, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported (http://bit.ly/2xHo17q) Monday. But the company Plastix, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, is up for the haul.

Plastix heard about the nets thanks to Nicole Baker, a fisheries observer who in 2010 started making stops in Unalaska. “I just noticed that there was a lot of old, junky nets lying around,” Baker said.

Baker spent two years looking for organizations capable of recycling the worn-out gear before finding the winner.

CEO Axel Kristensen said it seemed unreasonable to just throw the nets away. Plastix is the only company in the world recycling fishing nets the way it does, making the nets’ usage endless, Kristensen said.

Boaters will package the nets into shipping containers with the help of Trident Seafoods. Plastix is paying for the shipping.

“We cannot do this alone,” Kristensen said. “We need someone like Trident (Seafood), Nicole Baker, all kinds of stakeholders to take part in this project.”

This is the first year of the collaboration. But Baker said there was high demand from fishermen looking to find a new use for their nets.

“I hope to keep this going somehow,” she said.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.