The project is a collaboration between Royal DSM – a Dutch science-based company – and Starboard, a Bangkok-based watersports company manufacturing paddleboards, surfboards, windsurfers and kiteboards.
In addition to the environmental benefit, the collection, sorting, cleaning and processing of discarded fishing nets creates sustainable livelihoods for several local communities in India.
The collaboration was born when Starboard selected DSM’s Akulon RePurposed resin. Fully-recycled from discarded nylon-based fishing nets, the resin is known for its sustainability profile as much as its performance. The discarded fishing nets are gathered from the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea and are given a new lease of life as fins, fin boxes, SUP pumps and other structural parts in surfboards.
“One of the most satisfying parts of our work is the challenge of redesigning our products to lower their environmental impact and achieve higher performance,” says Svein Rasmussen, Starboard founder and CEO. “Through this collaboration with DSM, we showcase how quick and easy it can be to change the way we build better boards for the planet. We want to continuously push boundaries for more eco-innovations for our boards.”
UN figures show more than eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife and fisheries and costing at least US$ eight billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Abandoned plastic fishing nets are a part of the problem.
According to a report jointly produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP), fishing nets abandoned at sea remain in the marine ecosystem for hundreds of years. Known as ghost fishing nets, experts have estimated that there are roughly 640,000 tonnes of these nets currently in our ocean, accounting for almost ten per cent of all plastic waste in the sea.