We source our nets through recoveries along the remote and exposed coastline that we call home, and through a growing network of partners.
Alongside nets from collections across Europe, the material is sorted, shredded, fractioned and then compounded into pellets.
What was waste, now has value. Our pellets are injection moulded into frames at our facility in Northern Italy.
Abandoned fishing gear and nets are the most common and also the most lethal forms of plastic in our ocean.
In a phenomenon known as ‘ghost fishing’, the entangled and trapped marine life will attract more species, resulting ongoing loop of catches . As these discarded nets are produced from plastic, they will not degrade, persisting in the ocean to catch and kill marine life indefinitely.
We founded Waterhaul as frustrated marine conservationists - every winter our beaches were inundated with ghost gear and we were finding lines and offcuts daily. Our pile of collected nets grew and grew (as did our neighbours disapproval of the smell) which motivated us towards a solution. We partnered with several mechanical recycling facilities to process various forms of end-of-life fishing gear, and produced our first pair of sunglasses in 2018.
The properties which make ghost gear such a threat in our oceans; the size and abundance of net, the quality of the high-strength polymers used, and the urgency to remove the plastic from harms way, all make fishing nets a desirable recycling resource. And as we suspected, fishing nets durable enough to last 500 years in ocean make for super-strong sunglasses frames.
FOR YOUR OCEAN ADVENTURES
We utilise the strongest form of plastic in our oceans to produce exceptionally sustainable, recycled eyewear. Eyewear that meets the technical demands of adventure, ocean-exposure and UV protection, but also act as ‘symbols of change’ for our oceans. Waterhaul sunglasses frames last you a lifetime, because they are made from nets that would last decades in the ocean.
We're passionate about combining adventure with purpose - action on the ocean, for the oceans. Our eyewear is designed to meet the demands of this environment and enhance your experience whilst symbolising and hopefully inspiring marine conservation. Share our ethos? We'd love to hear from you if so!
Frequently Asked Questions
We currently collect nets in England and Wales, but are looking to expand this process as demand grows. The trawl nets are recycled at a facility that processes fishing gear from across Europe, whilst our nylon gillnets are both collected and recycled in Cornwall.
Ghost gear is a global problem that requires local level action. Our ultimate ambition is to grow a NETwork of collection schemes around the world that tackle ghost gear whilst also benefiting local communities. If your local area has a problem with ghost gear and you're motivated to act, pleae get in touch here.
Here are some resources to learn more about the issue of ghost gear.
- 'Fishing's Phantom Menace' World Animal Protection Report
- The Global Ghost Gear Initiative
- Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear 2009 UNEP Report
- Impact of Ghost Fishing by NOAA
- GhostNets Australia
There is an abundance of materials used in fishing gear to suit various fishing methods. However, the dominant materials are polyolefins (polyethylene and polypropylene) and nylons. We aim to create a range of products utilising different polymers and sources. Currently we utilise two main polymers; nylon from gill, tangle and siene nets and polypropylene from ropes and trawl nets.
The former is regarded as the most lethal form of ghost gear, as the strong translucent filaments are almost invisible underwater and indiscriminately entangle any marine life that comes into contact with them.
Polypropylene, the latter, is one of the most abundant forms of plastic in existence and is found far more abundantly than nylon. As such, we think it's important to demonstrate that even this lower value plastic can be given value.
Then we'd love to hear from you and discuss how we could support each other. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Waterhaul Story
A term originating from Newfoundland cod fisheries, used to describe the act of hauling in an (empty) seine or trawl net absent of any catch.
InspirationEvery surf. Every dive. The most common item on every beach clean. In 2018, I was working as marine scientist for a charity project engaging community action on plastic pollution. I'd be fortunate to travel the world for both research and adventure. However, the bright green strands of ghost gear that were a ubiquitous sight on every shoreline, from the Artic Circle to the Coral Triangle developed from a frustration to an obsession.
InceptionA key moment was the realisation that all of the properties which make discarded fishing gear such a problem; its abundance, its strength and durability, and its propensity to harm, combine to make it both an excellent resource as a material and a priority target to intercept from the ocean. After several recycling trials and partnerships, Waterhaul was founded in 2018, focused on a mission. We repurposed the 'waterhaul' term to represent the retrieval of ghost gear. Unlike it's original negative usage, for us hauling an empty net from the ocean is a success core to our manifesto.
MissionOur activities are anchored in purpose. As a social-enterprise, we exist to deliver our mission; to tackle ghost gear in oceans by transforming waste to valued resource. After months of design trials, errors and material failures, we finally produced our first functional prototype in November 2018.
Founder and CEO of Waterhaul
Motivated by combining environmental and social purpose with recycling based solutions. Have an idea, project or shared mission? Let's chat.