Alejandro Plasencia designed Rémora, a technologic and biodegradable system that makes use of a trackable tech-units wowen in fishing nets that allows to locate abandoned plastic soup that floats menacing marine fauna.
Abandoned fishing nets are a source of the 100 million ton of waste that float in the sea. Before decomposing into thousand of plastic bits, they keep on capturing fish and marine mammals. Ghost nets are a threat to the environment, but they are also an issue for the fishing industry, as they reduce the quantity of fish in the places where the nets are retrieved.
The Rémora system consists of 4 elements: a purse net, RFID Tags, an RFID reader and an app for smartphones. These elements are designed to work in synergy to rationalise the impact of industrial fishing.
Alejandro Plasencia says: “Since the beginning of the project our aim was to reduce the amount of plastic waste that floats in the oceans. But our prototypes were also designed to achieve the maximum effect without disrupting the process of an industry that has been optimised to obtain comercial profit carefully”.
The new net is fabricated exactly like the existing nets, with the single difference that polyethylene is mixed with d2w® additive. These sustainable nets are indeed biodegrable after 4 years.
The RFID tags grip to the net, but not in a uniform pattern. Their presence becomes more dense the closer they get to the “bag” of the net. This is the most important area, because it is the place where all the tuna is pushed to before lifting it from the sea.
After deploying the net, it’s 36ha of plastic pass through the puretic power block. Here it is where the standard RFID reader is located. It counts the Rémora tags and the finds out which pieces of net are missing.
After the net retrieval the fishermen receive a report from the app where they can check the missing pieces of net and intervene adequately to fix the problem instead of searching manually. If pieces of plastic remain in the sea, they can be retrieved. The co-ordinates of the ripped net can be shared with net recycling organisations like Healthy Seas Org.
Indeed, even if several countries set sustainable measures for sustainable fishing, it is extremely easy to dump unwanted pieces of net in international waters and remain unpunished. Thanks to Rémora, organisations like Healthy Seas Org will be able to retrieve nets in the open sea in order to recicle them and saving the life of free finned swimmers but also birds and crayfish.
Photos: courtesy of Alejandro Plasencia.