A Norwegian company is setting out on a special trawling mission this summer – but it will not be to catch fish. Clear Ocean AS plans to tow a trawl between two vessels along the Norwegian coast in the hope of catching plastic waste on the surface of the water.
Although the technology is fairly simple, it has never been tried before. Stig Randal Clear Ocean CEO said the first priority was to carry out the experiment without harming marine life such as fish and plankton. The experiment will be monitored by Norway’s Institute of Marine Research to ensure there is no damage to the marine environment as gather plastic on this scale has not been done before.
Another important part of this summer’s pilot project to determine how much plastic trash is actually contained on the surface of Norwegian coastal waters.
Although a long way from the industrialised European mainland and the British Isles, discarded plastic poses a growing threat to the Norwegian marine environment as well as being a problem globally.Fish, birds and other creatures eat pieces of plastic. A dying whale off the coast of Norway this winter had more than 30 plastic bags in its stomach.
And during a contest in northern Norway this winter known as the World Cup Cod Fishing tournament the stomach of one cod was found to full of plastic garbage. A study last year revealed that three per cent of Norwegian cod carry plastic of some kind.
Clear Ocean, which is based in Bremnes and co-operates closely with Norway’s Institute of Marine Research, has been working on this project since 2014. The aim is to capture the discarded plastic and pump it aboard one of the vessels where it is treated and taken back so it can be recycled. In fact the Institute plans to spend 35 million kroners (£3.5-million) this on combating marine litter.
Institute scientist Bjørn Erik Axelsen said plastic was a very important issue at the moment. “Our role in this is to monitor what is being done , make an independent assessment on its effects.”