OPERATION GHOST: MARE and Biotherm join forces to protect the Baltic Sea

MARE and Biotherm join forces to protect the Baltic Sea

According to FAO, each year over 640.000 tonnes of the so called ghost nets end up in the seas and oceans. Ghost nets is the colloquial name for old, abandoned or lost fishing gears, which, after being lost, continue to catch fish in an uncontrolled manner, at the same time polluting the marine environment. Currently, it is estimated that ghost nets account for approximately 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In order to deal with this problem, there are more and more actions undertaken around the world to reduce the negative impact of ghost nets on the marine environment. The MARE Foundation in collaboration with Biotherm, and under the scientific patronage of the Maritime Academy in Szczecin, has recently initiated a new project called the GHOST OPERATION aimed at addressing this issue.


The aim of the GHSOT OPERATION is to retrieve derelict fishing gears from three selected wrecks located in the Baltic waters. The operation will be combined with the monitoring of these wrecks for potential spills of hazardous substances. As a result of joint actions carried out by the MARE Foundation, Biotherm and Maritime Academy in Szczecin in October 2021, a survey aimed at mapping the selected wrecks was carried out on board the Nawigator XXI. Three wrecks have been located and will be cleaned form derelict gears in June 2022.


The negative impact of derelict fishing gears on the marine environment increased significantly in the second half of the 20th century as the fishing industry started to use plastics in the production of the majority of fishing gears. Fishing gears made of highly resistant plastic material remain in the sea for decades and have a negative impact on the marine ecosystems. Shipwrecks are often the places of accumulation of old fishing nets.

Cleaning the wrecks from derelict fishing gears is important not only from the point of view of cleaning the sea from marine litter, but also because of the need to monitor the wrecks for potential spills of hazardous substances, such as fuel - says Olga Sarna, the Chair of the MARE Foundation.

Retrieval of the nets from the wrecks will permit for more precise monitoring. And it should be considered as the first step on the way towards cleaning the wrecks that pose a potential risk of fuel spill.

This project is extremely important, both in the context of improving the condition of the marine environment by cleaning it from litter, as well as due to the possibility of conducting wreck research and collecting missing data necessary to perform risk assessments of wrecks. Both of these topics – the ghost nets and shipwrecks – are an extremely important area of activity of the Maritime Academy, to which we have been devoting attention for many years. That is why we are very eager to get involved in this project and we hope that it will be the beginning of our further joint activities for the benefit of the Baltic Sea. – comments Dr Eng. Captain Arkadiusz Tomczak, Professor of the Maritime Academy, cat. A hydrographer.


The cooperation between the MARE Foundation and Biotherm is the result of the new campaign for sustainable development undertaken by Biotherm, called Live by Blue Beauty - says Adrianna Wisińska, Brand Business Director, Biotherm Polska.

Biotherm is one of the first global cosmetics brands to commit to the idea of protecting the oceans and marine waters under the "Blue Beauty" strategy. This approach covers the entire supply chain, from the sourcing of natural, renewable ingredients to the development of formulas and packaging with respect for marine ecosystems, right up to the end-of-life of products, by minimizing their impact on the environment and marine ecosystems.

BIOTHERM has been initiating such sustainable initiatives since 2012 under its dedicated global programme called Water Lovers with a mission to create a better future for the seas and oceans. Biotherm has a long experience in cooperation with environmental NGOs such as Sylvia Earle Alliance (Mission Blue), Tara Ocean Foundation, Surfrider Foundation or the Oceanographic Institute of the Prince Albert the 1st of Monaco Foundation. The MARE Foundation has become a local partner in Poland, and this collaboration will allow us to really improve the condition of the Baltic ecosystem - adds Wisińska from Biotherm Polska.


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