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Toray and Partners Deliver Industry First in Stepping Up Planet-Protecting Used Fishing Net Recycling Program

Aug. 21, 2023

Toray Industries, Inc.
Nitto Seimo Co., Ltd.
Maruha Nichiro Corporation subsidiary Taiyo A&F Co., Ltd.

Tokyo, Japan, August 21, 2023 - Toray Industries, Inc., Nitto Seimo Co., Ltd., and Maruha Nichiro Corporation subsidiary Taiyo A&F Co., Ltd., announced today that they will broaden a program launched in last November to contribute to a circular economy and help resolve the issue of marine plastic by recycling materials from fishing nets into new ones. The program will now additionally recover materials from used nylon fishing nets.

In what will be an industry first, in November this year the three companies look to initiate purse seine fishing trials with nets made from recycled ones.

It is challenging to reuse in new nets. That is because the strength and durability of fibers deteriorate during spinning owing to debris and algae contamination from immersion in the sea. The recycling program launched last year was accordingly limited to nylon scraps and process waste from net production.

Toray thereafter leveraged a proprietary technology employing some nylon from discarded fishing nets to develop a recycled fiber that is comparable to virgin material. Nitto Seimo is manufacturing nets with this fiber. Taiyo A&F's offshore purse saine fishing vessel Taiyo Maru No.21 will deploy them on a trial basis in the Northern Pacific Ocean in this November to broaden the scope of the program.

The three companies will confirm the commercial feasibility of these new fishing nets. They will draw on trial results, verify materials scopes, ratios, and other aspects of expanding their usage with a view to putting the new nets on the market in December 2023.

Toray and Nitto Seimo will develop and manufacture innovative fibers and fishing nets made from process scraps and other pre-consumer materials and such post-consumer materials as used fishing nets, with Taiyo A&F testing the results. These companies will thus together deepen efforts to innovate technologies and create advanced materials to build a social system for recycling old fishing nets into new ones.

They will also keep collaborating to help reach two key Sustainable Development Goals. They are Goal 12, which is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, and Goal 14, which is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
F/V Taiyo Maru No.21 will deploy recycled fishing nets
Used fishing nets

Mitsuo Ohya, president of Toray, commented that, "This drive to develop nylon fiber-to-fiber recycling technology for fishing nets paves the way for the entire textiles industry to help materialize a circular economy by conserving and recycling resources and reducing wastes across the supply chain. One of the perspectives of the Toray Group's Sustainability Vision for 2050 is a world in which people manage resources sustainably. To that end, we will keep striving to resolve such issues as resource depletion and ocean plastics pollution while cutting carbon dioxide emissions."

Hiroaki Kobayashi, president of Nitto Seimo, said that, "This initiative will help eliminate waste and slash carbon dioxide emissions. Combined efforts across the entire supply chain, from textile and fishing net manufacturers to fishermen to recycle this equipment, have accelerated development. We will keep striving to eliminate marine plastics and materialize a carbon-neutral economy by recycling pre- and post-consumer fishing net materials."

Masaru Ikemi, president & CEO of Maruha Nichiro, said on behalf of that company and subsidiary Taiyo A&F that, "Under our medium-term management plan, one component of our sustainability strategy is to create environmental value, including at Taiyo A&F. This means contributing to a circular economy by cutting plastics content in containers and other packaging by 30% by fiscal 2030. It also entails tackling the issue of marine plastics by formulating fishing gear management guidelines and fully implementing them within the Group by fiscal 2024."

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Toray Industries Inc. published this content on 21 August 2023 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 25 August 2023 03:05:04 UTC.