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ISOLEM – the Ecological Marine Island

ISOLEM – the Ecological Marine Island #

ISOLEM (ecological marine island) is a pilot project with the goal to collect and dispose the anthropic waste in the sea with the help of the fishing trawlers of Viareggio.

The fishing boats of Viareggio can be transformed into a resource to tackle the problem of plastic waste in the sea: from this came the idea of the ISOLEM project.

Problem addressed #

When ISOLEM started it was almost impossible for fishermen to collect and dispose correctly marine waste.

The in-force regulation treated the waste trapped in the nets as “special waste”, and the cost of disposal was in charge of the trawler.

Objectives & implementation #

The main aim of the project is to implement action and feasibility studies to protect and recreate the biodiversity of marine ecosystems through sustainable fishing, by recovering marine areas damaged by human refuse on the sea bottom.

Stakeholders #

ISOLEM is an example of solid relationships and collaboration among the various entities that must necessarily be involved in a project of this kind.

The project leader is SEA AMBIENTE spa (Viareggio), the company responsible of collection, recycling and disposal of municipal waste 

Cittadella della Pesca (Viareggio), producers’ organization which involved the fishermen 

CIBM of Livorno (Interuniversity Center of Marine Biology and Applied Ecology “G. Bacci” of Livorno), partner of the project for the research part

NAVIGO (Viareggio), the largest network of nautical companies in Italy, responsible for the organizational and communicative part

Tuscany Region which financed ISOLEM through the EU EMFF (European Maritime Policy, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund) instrument and the involvement of the Municipality of Viareggio.

Viareggio’s Harbormaster

Regional Port Authority

Timescale #

From 31/08/2020 to 30/09/2020

Fields of application #

Marine plastic pollution

Transferability #

The on-board collection of waste “fished” at sea, if taken over by the fleet of 120 trawl boats currently present in Tuscany, would allow the disposal of a quantity of waste of around at least 80 tons per year.

Impact & Results #

Despite the operational difficulties due to the COVID-19 emergency, it was possible to obtain significant results in terms of estimates on the composition, abundance and distribution of marine litter, on the development of a functional system for collection, storage and disposal and the involvement of fishermen who have joined with participation, commitment and interest in all phases of the project.

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