This start-up wants to make fishing gear from seaweed

Given that 75%-86% of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to come from the fishing and aquaculture industries, this seems like a good thing.

This start-up wants to make fishing gear from seaweed
Photo by Kieran Wood / Unsplash

The founder of Portland, Maine-based start-up Viable Gear is on a mission to save our oceans by swapping out petroleum-based plastics used in the fishing and aquaculture industries with seaweed-based alternatives.

Katie Weiler says products made with her company's seaweed-derived polymers will biodegrade without shedding toxic microplastics into the oceans and environment. Their first commercially available product is a seeding twine made from kelp for use in seaweed hatcheries. If that's a success they plan to scale up to producing bait bags for the lobster industry next.

Of course, since this article reads largely like a company glow-up meant to entice investors, there's no real discussion of how the seaweed-based products perform compared to traditional plastics. It does mention that natural polymers have a reputation of not being as durable as plastic, and that the company is working on a new formula to address that criticism. But there's no evidence the new formula will meet their expectations. I sure hope it DOES, though. The world needs more biodegradable kelp products and a whole lot less plastic in the ocean.  

(Side note: is it just me or is it weird that seaweed farms are called "hatcheries"? Is seaweed "hatched"? To me the word implies the breeding of animals from eggs, specifically.)

Read the full article here.

(And here's the link for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch statistic.)

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