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SS Net Reuse/MARPLAS Update

"We went to SeaFest 2019 (Ireland’s biggest Maritime Festival) on behalf of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish State agency responsible for developing the Irish seafood industry. We even got to go on a tour of the Celtic Explorer while there!" 

The Sea Synergy Net Re-Use and MARplas projects are legacy projects of CoDesRes and are continuing research that contributes to localising the SDGs, in this instance;

  • SDG4 - Quality Education

  • SDG11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • SDG12 - Responsible Production and Consumption

  • SDG14 - Life Below water

Sea Synergy interns and staff had the pleasure of manning three sea life stands and two education booths at SeaFest 2019 in June. While there, we spoke to thousands of guests about the importance of lobsters, spider crabs, brown crabs, and filter feeders (such as mussels and oysters) in our oceans. Kids and adults alike were able to get up-close and personal with Europe's largest crab species and observe how fishermen use the "V-notching" technique to allow female lobsters to be thrown back into the ocean and keep Ireland's lobster populations high. Our team was a hit at the sea life stands, featuring in many twitter posts and even getting a visit from the Irish Times! 

Sea Synergy @ Seafest 2019

As part of the event we took the opportunity to present the SS Net reuse project, which consists of two phases; phase one, which was supported by BIM and phase 2 MARplas, supported by the EPA.

SS Net Re-use stand, Seafest, June 2019

This was a great opportunity to showcase the work completed with the BIM funded project Net ReUse as we began to transition into phase 2 MARplas. MarPlas is an innovative new project lead by the Sea Synergy research team and funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The project is working on the full aspect of the fishing net re-use process, from collection and cleaning to reprocessing and new product creation.

Using a pre-tested co-design process working within coastal communities in four of Ireland's FLAG regions the project aims to develop product prototypes from marine plastic fishing waste thus creating a resource and adding value to fishing net offcuts and old marine plastic waste material. MarPlas is using an inclusive Design Thinking process embedded within the pCr methodology (McKeown, 2015) to encourage the circular economic approaches, which has been adapted for education and community co-design.

This is being implemented to develop and demonstrate innovative and novel approaches to the re-use of the nets. MARplas has three pillars to the research; materials and processes research, TY design Challenge sprint and Community Innovation Co-Design workshops.

Materials Research

Our Design team alongside working within communities to imagine a second life for net off cuts and waste net materials are carrying out research on the properties of the materials. Working with light industrial processes like 3D printing and injection moulding they are testing the properties of re-purposed net material. This research informs our product development with information on the strength and durability of the materials once they have been re-created through an industrial processes.  The team is working with a circular economy approach so this materials research is vital to closing the loop within communities providing realistic options for embedding the recycling process within our coastal communities.

TY Design Challenge Week - "Problem to Pitch"

The project offers a work experience style Design Challenge Week to TY students throughout the FLAG regions being visited by the project. During the design week students work as interdisciplinary Research Assistants, experiencing the full process from ‘problem to pitch’ with the ​benefits of participation as follows:

  • Experience working with a research team

  • Hands’ on Design thinking experience

  • Learn about Cradle to Cradle design, Circular economy and research skills

  • Contribute to real world solutions for Net Re-use

  • Experience in presenting ideas and pitching products

  • 3D printing experience

  • Continued support for interested parties to pursue product development

  • Certificate of participation

Community Co-Design workshops

Community Co-Design Workshops are being held throughout the 3 FLAG regions the MARplas project is working in. The aim of the project is to begin to encourage micro-enterprise and innovative hubs within communities to tackle the issue of net re-use within their own community. Working with existing community groups such as - Men's Sheds, ICA, Fisherman co-ops, Craft or creative groups and Environmental groups. Through a focused creative and systemic investigation, MarPlas will focus on the following actions:

  1. Conduct a lifecycle analysis of Irish fishing net manufacturers and existing net re-use market ready products to identify a clear route to developing prototypes

  2. Development of 4 prototypes for an Irish context based on LCA phase

  3. Develop a scalable disruptive innovation and peer to peer (p2p) business model for the Irish market

If you or a group that you work with would be interested in taking part please get in touch with the team!

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