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A project of the Rotary Club Arlesheim,
in the context of the Mare Nostrum Initiative


Did you know that one of the biggest threats to our ocean is caused by ghost fishing gear? Around 75% of the plastic found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is attributed to fishing activities, while ghost nets alone contribute to 10% of all ocean pollution. 

At Redes Fantasma, our mission is to develop and implement an effective system dedicated to removing and preventing harmful ghost nets from the ocean. Our initiative is specifically tailored for Portugal, a country with a long tradition in the fishing sector, a major economic activity in the country.


Ghost fishing gear = lost or abandoned fishing nets, lines, and traps that continue to trap and kill marine life

Countless marine species become entangled in them, often succumbing to a distressing demise, thereby contributing to the alarming decline in biodiversity

Nets disintegrate into ever smaller particles, entering the food chain and polluting the entire marine flora and fauna

The project

We chose a holistic approach on the coastal area of Portugal to tackle the ghost fishing gear pollution, build resilient fishing communities, and promote economic and cultural system change. 

To accomplish this goal we follow a three step approach:

Removing fishing gear from the ocean and on the coastline which often gets carried away by the tide and currents before sinking to the ground.

Stop fishing gear pollution

Our cleaning activities will be linked to an educational program on the impact of ghost fishing gear which we will develop with partners.

Create Awareness of the impacts 

Recycling and upcycling of fishing gear helps to create local business opportunities in fishing communities in Portugal. 

Create circular infrastructure/ economy 

We are engaged in collaborative research focused on understanding and forecasting the potential placement of lost and abandoned nets in the water column and on the seabed. We will coordinate and execute expeditions aimed at locating, retrieving, and appropriately disposing of abandoned fishing gear, thereby addressing the issue of ghost fishing. Additionally, we aim to organize beach clean-up initiatives with local organizations, especially after strong winter storms.

In parallel, through a combination of workshops with fishermen, campaigns, and strategic partnerships, we aim to advocate for stronger regulations and innovative solutions to prevent gear loss.


Facts about ghost nets


Almost 30% of nets used in the fishing industry end up abandoned or lost in the ocean



It takes ghost nets over 400 years to complete desintegrate


340 species of animals are in danger because of plastic pollution

Who we are


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Project Initiator

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Researcher, designer and strategist with background in community activism

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Marine Biologist; focused on EU-funded marine projects & Ocean Science Communication 


Researcher, coastal developer, and project designer; creator of Beachaton


Mare Nostrum –
by Rotary Club Arlesheim

The Mare Nostrum - End Plastic Soup association was founded on the initiative of a number of Rotarians from the Basel area, in Switzerland. The littering of the environment, especially the world's oceans, with plastic waste has reached gigantic proportions that we can no longer accept. This disaster is man-made. That is why we need to act quickly and efficiently.

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Get in Touch

Urs Endress

Rebgasse 46
4144 Arlesheim, Switzerland

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