SEOUL -- As a solution to reduce marine pollution, South Korean researchers recommend the recycling of waste fishing nets and ropes collected from coastal waters and fish farms into hybrid fiber-reinforced cementitious composites that can be applied to marine and port concrete structures.
About 50 percent of ocean waste in South Korea comes from fishing nets and plastic buoys. "Ghost nets," which are abandoned or lost fishnets made of nylon, damage fish stock and destroy underwater habitats such as coral reefs and benthic fauna, which are common spawning grounds for marine animals.
The state-run Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) said its research team has launched an experimental study on the feasibility of using recycled waste fishing nets in cementitious composites with a focus on the hybrid effect of short waste fishing net fibers.
Researchers have designed a shredder capable of cutting and crushing waste fish nets to manufacture composite materials of recycled fiber reinforced cement for research on their mechanical properties such as strength and flexural toughness.
Recycling waste fishing nets as short fiber reinforcement in cementitious composites can be an effective solution for waste fishing nets collected from marine environments, (KIOST researchers said in their paper posted on the website of Composite Structures, an international journal.
They called for further studies to successfully reuse waste fishing nets for the fiber reinforcement of concrete structures, saying the type, size, and material properties of collected waste fishing nets can vary greatly depending on their exposure area, period, and environmental conditions.
"It is essential to develop a technology that recycles marine waste, which has a severe impact on the marine environment, as a high value-added resource," KIOST head Kim Woong-seo said in a statement on September 28. "We will contribute to extending the life of port structures by recycling waste fishing nets, ropes and various marine wastes as useful resources."
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