Fishing plastic from the Adriatic Sea

Fishing plastic from the Adriatic Sea Artist Christian Holstad with one of the fishermen from San Benedetto del Tronto. Photo: FTP

In May and June this year around forty fishing boats from San Benedetto del Tronto, on Italy's Adriatic coast, collected and brought ashore all the plastic recovered during fishing. A month after the start of the activity, FPT Industrial and the Fishing for Plastic initiative partners took stock at the Museum of the Sea in San Benedetto del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno).

The fleet in San Benedetto del Tronto was the largest ever used in Italy for this purpose as the group of boats fished around three tons of plastic in just over a month.

Analysing the waste in detail showed that 48% consisted of commonly used or disposable items, such as bottles, containers, plastic bags and food packaging, while 34% was lost or abandoned fishing and mussel farming gear, such as fishing and mussel breeding nets, lines, ropes, buoys and floats. The remaining 18% consisted of fragments of plastic, objects that are difficult to identify or other unusual and curious items, such as inflatable mattresses, toys, beach balls, balloons, a computer keyboard, a dummy's head, a gas mask and a printer cover.

In fact, the fishing vessels landed around six tonnes of garbage, of which plastic accounted for 53%. The remainder was 13% is textile material, 11.5% metal and rubber, 4.6% glass and 4% mixed waste. Less than 2% is food waste produced by fishermen, such as bottles, cans or food packaging. 28% of the items comes from fishing and commercial marine activity as in addition to fishing gear, there were metallic paint cans, filters and engine gaskets, oilcloths and boots, work gloves.

"The protection of the environment is a topic that we have very much at heart and that, like FPT Industrial, we translate into two key concepts: concreteness and awareness," said Egle Panzella, Head of Brand Equity, Sustainability and Heritage of FPT Industrial, which has been closely involved with the initiative.

"Precisely for this reason we are very keen on the Fishing for Plastic project, as it represents a real gesture which the data submitted today proves. The pilot phase has just ended, but we decided, together with all the partners, to extend it until mid-August, so that this ‘fishing’ can become a custom and not a short-term project".

Fishing for Plastic was carried out in collaboration with CNH Industrial, Clean Sea Life – an established European project that has been raising awareness of the issue of waste at sea and on the beaches of the Mediterranean, the Port Authority of San Benedetto del Tronto, the Municipality, PicenAmbiente, Garbage Service, the Central Adriatic Ports Authority and MedSharks.

Inspiring art

FPT Industrial's commitment does not stop there. The Brand has in fact sponsored Christian Holstad's work of art, Consider yourself as a guest (Cornucopia), which was presented at the Biennale, the International Art Exhibition in Venice.

For the development of this site-specific installation, the artist was inspired by the constant news about the increasing pollution of the seas and oceans from all over the world and by the firsthand testimonies of the fishermen of San Benedetto del Tronto.

As a symbol of their commitment, the fishermen gave Christian Holstad a fishing net, which the artist will use in his work of art. The installation is reminiscent of a cornucopia, an ancient symbol of luck and abundance, made entirely with plastic waste, which becomes the opportunity to reflect on the urgent need to tackle the issue of pollution of our seas.

The classical meaning of this iconic image is thus distorted by the artist, acquiring an unprecedented negative sense of ‘excess,’ while the close relation between the artwork and water aims to clearly and immediately raise public awareness, literally ‘bringing to the surface,’ a topical problem rather than leaving it hidden in the depths of the sea.

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