Project Turns Discarded Fishing Nets into Surfboards, Helping to Reduce Ocean Pollution in the Process


The ocean (and most of the rest of the planet) is slowly being poisoned by discarded plastics, and people all over the world are looking for ways to try to mitigate, ease, or even reverse the devastating effects that humans are wreaking on the marine environment.

The latest effort comes from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where fishermen are gathering discarded fishing nets to turn into surfboards.


The project is a collaboration between DSM, a nutrition and sustainable living corporation, and Thailand-based water sports company Starboard. DSM’s operations director explained to The Straits Times that they take the nets (often they are unusably broken) from the water, then clean, granulate, and transport them to their Indian factories to be reborn as ec0-friendly surfboards.

The nets are a big problem for both people and fish, in more ways than one.

The fish who don’t get caught in the nets often consume bits of them, and then as smaller fish are eaten by bigger ones, the plastics make their way up the food chain. The nets also tangle in boat propellors, damaging engines, and they can also strangle unsuspecting marine life, like turtles or cetaceans.

According to a DSM press release, experts estimate around 640,000 tons of trash nets remain in the ocean – 10% of all ocean plastic waste. Matt Gray, a commercial director at DSM, explained their mission in more detail.


“We look beyond society’s current model of take-make-dispose and instead try to mimic nature and the circle of life. By transforming the nets into fins, fin boxes, SUP pumps, and other parts of surfboards, the nets can return to the ocean in a much more environmentally conscious way.”

The effort is also supplying jobs for the local communities in India, which means the companies and the project are doing double the good.

Good on them. Now, let’s all find a way to do the same!