Hey there, we’ve recently launched our new Hebo collection, which was mainly inspired by the beauty of the Ocean. While we drew various inspirations from different Oceanic elements, I just wanted to spend a bit of time to talk about a particular darker side of the inspirations - ghost nets.


Source: Elia Clerici / Pexels

The Ghost Net Easter Egg

You may have noticed that there are some loose strings of fabric at certain ends of the Reef Tote and the Nori Bucket. This isn’t a production flaw, but rather a small message, or Easter Egg if you may, about ghost nets. Ghost nets are essentially abandoned or lost fishing nets, primarily from industrial fishing methods such as bottom trawling, which involves using large boats to drag huge fishing nets across the sea floor.


 
Ghost Nets are a Perpetual Harm to Marine Animals

The scary thing about ghost nets is that although fishers are done with them, these nets continue to trap all sorts of marine animals in their path, including sea turtles, dolphins, seals, sharks and more. These fishing nets were designed to capture marine animals, and so when left behind, they continue to do so silently and and perpetually. 


Source: Ahmed Areef / EyeEm/GettyImages

Source: Ray Boland, NOAA / NMFS / PIFD / ESOD.
 
Ghost Nets are a Major Contributor to the Ocean Plastics Crisis

Most modern fishing nets, especially those for industrial uses, are made of plastic compounds such as nylon. As we all know, plastics don’t biodegrade and will exist in our ecosystem for centuries. According to a 2018 study published in the Scientific Reports journal, ghost nets make up at least 46 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a huge, lifeless patch of the North Pacific Ocean filled with microplastics and marine debris, with an estimated size of around 1.6 million square kilometers, or three times the size of France. Yes, three times.


Source: The Ocean Cleanup

What are being done

There are many nonprofits,activists, and organizations that have been raising awareness and proposing systematic changes to commercial fishing in order to address the issue with ghost nets. Organizations like the WWF (www.worldwildlife.org) and Greenpeace (www.greenpeace.org) have been doing a great job at educating the public about ghost nets, and bringing together stakeholders from different fronts such as conservation partners, policy makers, fisheries, etc. to implement changes such as traceable fishing gear that provides an audit trail to deter fisheries from dumping their fishing gear, and implementing refundable deposits on fishing gear to encourage the reuse and recycling of fishing gear. Just to name a few. Do visit these organizations and check out the work they’re doing and support them in any way you can, including to help them spread awareness and their cause.


The Message

I really like to incorporate some of the things that are important to me into my designs. Putting this little Easter Egg into the design of the Hebo Collection, I wanted to subtly express the importance of addressing the problem of ghost nets. They are a huge problem to Ocean life, and ultimately our lives. We can all do better to strive for an equilibrium state of our ecosystem. Reducing plastic use and recycling is great and let’s keep doing that. Another thing we could do, which is oftentimes the elephant in the room, is to stop eating marine animals. Whilst of course this is an oversimplification, ultimately if we don’t demand fish, there will be no commercial fishing, which would mean no ghost nets. Something we definitely can all think about :)


Source: Allan Watson / PEXELS
July 12, 2022 — Xenia Wong