Public Release: 

Fishing for carpets

Thousands of abandoned fishing nets to be made into carpet tiles

Zoological Society of London

Every year tonnes of abandoned or lost fishing nets entangle and needlessly kill fish and other marine life, while polluting beaches and villages. The success of this year-long pilot between conservationists at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), global carpet tile manufacturer Interface, Inc, together with local partners that include Project Seahorse Foundation (PSF), heralds a new approach to saving our seas by keeping discarded nets out of them.

The innovative project, called Net-WorksTM, has so far involved 892 local fishers and their families combing nearby beaches to collect fishing nets, which they then exchange for payment at local community banks created for the project. For every two and a half kilos of nets collected, villagers receive enough money to buy a kilo of rice - providing an extra meal for a family of 5 in a place where many families struggle to eat 3 times a day. Additionally, the community banks provide basic financial support so families can save extra money to improve their financial security.

The recycled nets will be incorporated into Interface's brand new carpet tile collection called Net EffectTM, which is being announced today.

ZSL's Head of Global Conservation Programmes, Dr. Heather Koldewey says: "Abandoned or lost fishing nets are a growing problem responsible for causing enormous damage to wildlife and delicate coral reefs. The success of Net-Works means we've cleaned up a major source of pollution on the coastline and enabled local communities to make an income directly from their conservation activities. This is a rather unusual but exciting collaboration between conservation and industry."

The Danajon Bank is one of the most degraded coral reefs in the world due to decades of overfishing and pollution, but local families living in extreme poverty have previously had no other option but to work for hours to catch just a kilo of fish. As fish catches have been declining, so have people's incomes, making financial situations more and more precarious and driving illegal and destructive fishing practices.

ZSL's Dr. Nick Hill, Net-Works project manager, says: "Turning old nets into new carpets is such a simple idea, but it's helping to make an incredible difference to the lives of local people and wildlife in the area.

"We are now aiming to roll Net-Works out to neighbouring areas, with the ultimate goal of creating self-sufficient projects around the world," Dr Hill added.

Through this innovative collaboration, ZSL, Interface Inc., Aquafil, and Philippine organisations PSF and Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation continue to progress plans to develop a community-led supply chain and improve access to financial services. Significantly, the increased financial security and social capacity achieved through Net-Works helps provide opportunities for people to improve their environment and support conservation activities, for example sustaining the 35 community-led marine protected areas established for over the last 15 years by ZSL through Project Seahorse.


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For more information please contact Smita Singh on 0207 449 6288 or email

Transforming nets to carpets

Once the fishing nets have been collected from beaches they are then transported to carpet manufacturers, where the nylon is extracted and used to make carpet tiles. For more information visit

Background information on Net-Works available here:


Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: the key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. The Society runs ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, carries out scientific research in the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation in over 50 countries worldwide. For further information please visit

Danajon Bank

The Philippines is the global centre of marine shore fish biodiversity, but it faces some of the greatest levels of threat of all marine areas globally. Danajon Bank is a double barrier reef in the centre of the Philippines, and one of the most degraded coral reefs in the world. The area has high population densities as well as high levels of poverty. The island villages are highly dependent on marine resources, mainly fishing and seaweed farming.

On Danajon Bank ZSL has been working with the local NGO, Project Seahorse Foundation for Marine Conservation - a conservation group with a track history of community-based conservation.


Interface, Inc.

Established in 1973, Interface, Inc. (NASDAQ: TILE) is the worldwide leader in design, production and sales of environmentally responsible modular carpet, manufactured for the commercial and institutional markets under the Interface® brand, and for consumer markets as FLOR®. To learn more about Interface design and sustainability principles and product innovations visit

Project Seahorse Foundation for Marine Conservation, Inc (PSFMCI) PSFMCI is a Filipino NGO based in Cebu City. PSF's work focuses on Danajon Bank, where they are committed to the conservation of marine ecosystems through equitable and sustainable use. PSF has been working in communities on Danajon Bank since 1995, and has assisted in the establishment of 34 community-based Marine Protected Areas; one of which won a prestigious national award in 2007. They have also helped to establish a Fisher's Alliance on Danajon Bank in order to improve fisheries management.


Aquafil is one of the leading players, both in Italy and globally, in the production of polyamide 6. The Aquafil Group has a presence in seven countries on three continents, employing more than 2200 staff at 13 plants located in Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, the USA, Thailand and China. Always committed to taking real measures to protect the environment, in 2011 Aquafil started the ECONYL ® Regeneration System project. It is an innovative industrial regeneration process that produces nylon 6 polymer from:

  • Post-consumer waste, i.e. end-of-life products made from polyamide 6, including fishing nets, fluff (from the top of carpets and rugs) and textiles;
  • Pre-consumer waste such as oligomers, scraps, etc., generated from the production of nylon. For further information:

Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation

NWTF is a Philippine NGO that provides Grameen-based micro financing and non-financial development services to marginalized urban and rural poor across Central Philippines. Since its inception in 1984, NWTF has grown to serve over 160,000 active clients.

Many of NWTF's clients depend on the bounty of the land and the ocean for their livelihood and for their families' survival. NWTF recognizes the impact that pollution, over-fishing and weak waste management have on local ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. The organization also recognizes the transformative potential that an empowered client can have for the community, and is committed to educating its clients on environmental issues. NWTF also dedicates resources to incorporating renewable energy products and active environmental campaigns into its operations.

For further information visit our website at

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