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Volunteers cut and bundle ghost net for overseas up-cycling

One international organisation is hoping to make something new from a ghost net pulled from Cayman’s waters this month.

Volunteers from Plastic Free Cayman, Cayman International School, and Department of Environment staff spent much of Sunday cutting the tangled web of netting into manageable pieces to be shipped away.

Using sharp objects of all sorts, a small army of volunteers dismantle a ghost net that’s thankfully no longer a threat to marine life…

“This line can be used again. It can be recycled, it can be up-cycled into a completely different product,” said Plastic Free Cayman’s Claire Hughes.

She told Cayman 27 up-cycling is where Parley for the Oceans comes in. Parley has collaborated with Adidas to make footwear and sporting apparel from recovered ocean plastic. Now, Ms. Hughes said the organisation is hoping to make something new from this tangled mess.

“Basically they are trying intercept any nets, and they are going to reuse them, and used as a platform to raise awareness and educate people,” she explained.

“It’s wet, it’s got bits of seaweed in it, it’s quite smelly,” said DOE Deputy Director Tim Austin of the ghost net.

While getting his hands dirty alongside volunteers, he described what’s next for this ghost net.

“The fishing line is recovered and it is turned into something useful, what that is at this stage, I don’t know, but they have very kindly agreed to take this net so as long as we can get it shipped off island, packed up, we can ship it off island and they are going to re-purpose it,” said Mr. Austin.

Ms. Hughes said repurposing the ghost net is a better outcome than taking up space at the landfill.

“The whole idea is trying to raise awareness that there is no ‘away’, if something is in the landfill it’s just going to sit there, and it is a very valuable resource,” she said.

It took volunteers five hours to complete the project in the Sunday heat. The DOE told Cayman 27 it expects the bundled mono-filament to be shipped off next week.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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