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Ghost fishing is the term for abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing nets. Nets get lost during fishing and reasons such as safety and time play a part in them not being recovered. Yet the biggest root cause is laziness and disregard for our natural resources. These nets, as they float down our oceans that home the most complex biodiversity of our planet, choke fish and suffocate coral reefs.
In 2018, it was reported that up to 650,000 marine animals are killed by ghost nets every year. This human issue of plastic waste is endangering dolphins, otters, turtles, and countless other species. Not only does this endanger the food chain marine life needs to live, it causes coral bleaching. Coral reefs tend to live for longer than four thousand years, yet due to the discarded fishing nets covering them up, the coral’s mortality is threatened as they are put under extreme stress. It is both scary and humbling to think that an innocuous invention can cause such a drastic change. Unless we begin to practice ethical consumption, urgently, these changes will be irreversible.
All of these living creatures are a source of joy in cultures around the world. We love the vibrant patterns of coral and fish, as well as the cute turtles and otters that can be found on TikToks and cartoons. Each member of the planet has a crucial role to play to uphold the sacred balance of life; an example of sea turtles being a species that helps the seagrass beds and coral reefs flourish. Without them there would be an imbalance that would lead to other species dying out. Though the effects may seem slow to an average consumer, we must act now before it’s too late. Everything, from our phone covers to the clothes we wear plays a part in the ecosystem and relies on its resources.
How is BIONDA tackling this issue?
BIONDA as a brand has set out to protect our ecosystem from the very beginning. Where we pride ourselves on utilising small, family run businesses instead of faceless corporations and factories, we also exclusively use material that counters excessive waste. Our beachwear is made entirely of ECONYL, which is recycled ocean plastics and ghost nets. We strive to create beauty and renewability out of what was once destructive. We are advocates for change.
Our hometown in Mallorca has a ghost fishing problem. Not only are there known shipwrecks from the last century, but Mallorca is one of the top three countries that generates the highest amount of ghost fishing gear. Save the Med, a Mallorcan charity, announced an anti-ghost fishing initiative. Over the course of 3 months, over 200 pieces of ghost fishing nets were recovered. The traditional modes of fishing such as palm leaves, cork slabs, and vegetable fibre ropes have been swapped for faster and cheaper methods. Now polyethylene, sisal, and other plastics are finding their forever homes in the ocean. At BIONDA we celebrate slowness in the face of fast fashion and believe that traditional methods are superior in both quality and sustainability.
Even though the numbers and threat seem daunting, we believe anything is possible, especially positive change. We want to do whatever we can for our planet and we believe it’s best to start local. Campaigns are being set up throughout the Mediterranean to combat the long term effects of ghost fishing, including scuba divers physically going into the waters to retrieve nets. BIONDA will be announcing a fundraiser soon, and all profits from our sales will be put into the fundraiser. For now, show your support for Save the Med and the fantastic work they do by donating to their organisation.
At BIONDA we have some core beliefs that shape the way we design and produce your fashion. We think that spending time in nature promotes sustainable living. Keep coming back to the ocean and pay your respect to the world. To face what we are jeopardizing illuminates what we should be protecting, and how. We believe our clothes should last. The demands of global CO2 emissions are harming our water reserves. If we don’t slow down, life as we know it won’t last much longer. And finally, keep learning and changing. We’re all in this together. To be noble in this vision of economics, ecology, and the world we live in requires us to cooperate and educate ourselves in order to elevate. As a producer and supplier, we are constantly re-evaluating our actions, informing ourselves of the pros and cons, and committing to transparency with our customers. Together, we can lay the foundations for a more sustainable future.