Nicole Baker is the force behind getting AK fishing nets/gear recycled                       Credit: KUCB




Two shipping containers were filled this week with plastic fishing nets, crab lines and other gear in Dutch Harbor and two more are headed to Kodiak for loading this month.

“The same goes for Kodiak — we’re accepting trawl and crab line and halibut gear but all of that stuff is going to Bulgaria to be sorted because that is how the logistics and the pricing worked out.”

Nicole Baker heads

“And I expect that three more containers going to Europe for recycling in the next few weeks. So I should be tying my amount that I recycled last year. I think we should have seven containers by the end of 2018.”


That will add up to nearly 300,000 pounds of old fishing gear being removed and made into new products by a Denmark company called Plastix.

“Once the nets get there, they grind them up and melt them down and turn them into plastic pellets that they then resell to anyone interested in buying recycled plastics to turn into water bottles or phone cases or whatever you might choose to make out of plastic.”

Gear made from mixed plastics also can be recycled.

“We can also recycle what I call mixed plastic,s which is normally what crab line and some types of halibut line are made out of. They are not a particular type of plastic but are a bunch of plastics mixed together so those have to go to a different recycling facility.”

Baker says nylon-based gear that is used primarily in gillnets and seines is not accepted yet.

“I am currently working with some nylon recyclers to try to add that to the suite of materials that I can accept, maybe next year or the year after.”

Funding help comes from the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and the recycling push also is a partnership with fishermen and local companies.

Trident helps defray shipping costs to Europe and gear moving and loading is contributed by Aleutian Expeditors and Brechan Construction.

Baker hopes to meet with more gear recycling advocates next week at Pacific Marine Expo. Find her at booth 4425 in the Alaska Hall. The goal is get more programs going in Alaska and the Northwest.

“If you have gear to recycle and you don’t have a program already established –– please don’t let that prohibit you from reaching out. I’m in the process of starting new programs in Alaska and also hopefully on the west coast.”

              Next week!  Nov. 18-20, Seattle