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INdIGO is a European project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Interreg France (Channel) France (Manche) England programme.

The INdIGO project (Innovative Fishing Gear for Ocean) aims to reduce the amount of plastic in the Channel area of the UK and France by 3% through the development of biodegradable fishing equipment.

Fishing gear, like nets and traps, account for 27% of marine litter – a total of more than 26000km of lost gear annually. Most are made from plastics, and can last for hundreds of years – and this has grave consequences for water quality, marine wildlife and biodiversity.

To tackle this issue, the INdIGO project will reduce the total quantity of plastic present in the FCE area by 3% through the development of biodegradable fishing gear, improving water quality and maintaining biodiversity. INdIGO will also identify existing recycling channels and develop an application to locate fishing gear already lost. 

Visit the INdIGO project website

We’re pleased that this is the second project approved by our Programme to come out of the targeted event we ran on plastic pollution, as it’s a significant issue on both sides of the Channel. Reducing plastics in our seas and on our beaches by creating biodegradable fishing nets and an app to find and recycle fishing gear is a really innovative way of tackling the problem, and we look forward to following the progress of INdIGO.

Carolyn Reid, Programme Manager for Interreg France (Channel) England Programme

The project will cover the production chain of the fishing gear from formulation, filament manufacturing, to prototype net development. The deployment of the net at sea, durability tests, technical and economic analysis will then be undertaken. A life-cycle analysis will be completed to avoid pollution transfer.

The involvement of SMEs will ensure the economic sustainability of the project by exploiting the results of the project. This expertise of the sector will enable INdIGO to develop products that are adapted to the needs of the market and competitive with current alternatives, while reducing their impact on the environment.

The project has 10 partners in the UK and France and is led by the Université de Bretagne Sud in Brittany. It has a budget of €4.3m, €2.9m coming from the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France Channel England Programme. The expected duration of the research will be 3 years and 9 months.

Innovative Fishing Gear for Ocean infographic

Infographic text


  • Reduce marine plastic pollution generated by fisheries and aquaculture
  • Develop the first biodegradable fishing gear with a finite lifespan to benefit the marine environment
  • Identify fishing gear already lost and improve the recycling of fishing gear at the end of its life

In a few words:

  • Involving fisheries and aquaculture professionals
  • Raising awareness and involving users of the marine environment through a community science platform
  • Encouraging and facilitating the recycling of fishing gear
  • Designing and manufacturing prototype nets at laboratory and industrial scales
  • Conducting a market analysis and studying the costs and benefits of the new equipment
  • Studying the ageing of fishing gear and equipment in the marine environment
  • Testing of biodegradation and ecotoxicity in the marine environment
  • Analysing acceptability and appropriation by end users

Some figures:

  • Fishing gear represents 27% of marine plastic litter
  • INdIGO aims to reduce plastic pollution in the sea by 3% by 2030


Project partners


  • Lead partner : Université de Bretagne Sud (Morbihan)
  • Synergie Mer et Littoral (Manche)
  • Institut Francais de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (Morbihan)
  • Filt (Calvados)
  • Nature Plast (Calvados)
  • Institut Regional des Matériaux Avancés (Morbihan)


  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Suffolk)
  • University of Plymouth (Devon)
  • Marine South East (Hampshire)
  • University of Portsmouth (Hampshire)

Project members at the University of Portsmouth

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Dr Ben Drakeford

Associate Professor in Marine Resource Economics

Economics and Finance

Faculty of Business and Law

PhD Supervisor

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