Marine waste to surf jewellery
- Credit: Yemaya Collections
They sound eerie - but ghost fishing nets have nothing to do with long-dead mariners, but a dangerous product of marine littering
Jewellery designer Amelia Frances is raising awareness of broken nets found in the ocean and our coastlines which are a danger to marine wildlife through a new range that starts with foraging ghost nets from the sea and ends with bracelets created from the waste.
As well as stunning accessories, Amelia’s Yemaya Collections are raising awareness of marine littering – and supporting the work of local conservation groups who are cleaning up our seas.
The Falmouth-based marine biologist-turned jewellery designer has lived and worked in coastal environments all over the world. - from teaching marine conservation and tagging turtles in the Caribbean, to windsurfing around Europe and exploring the wild and rugged shorelines of Northern Scotland.
Initially focusing on incorporating sea glass - another product of marine littering - in her rings, bracelets and necklaces, Amelia has now designed a range using ‘ghost’ fishing nets recovered off the Cornish coast.
‘In my work and travels all around the world, I’ve witnessed the sad impact of marine littering. It’s a huge problem which at times can seem overwhelming, but it’s our collective responsibility to do what we can to clean up our oceans for future generations,’ she says. ‘My work to collect, clean and reuse ghost fishing nets may only be a drop in the ocean, but by creating beautiful, wearable pieces of jewellery I hope to spark conversations about marine litter, and how we can all do our bit to support the clean-up.’
£2 from each bracelet is donated to Clean Ocean Sailing, a charity based in Gweek which actively cleans the ocean along Cornish and Isles of Scilly coastlines, including recovering nets and other litter from some of the most hard-to-reach beaches and bays.
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Yemaya’s eye-catching Ghost Net Bracelets - come in many colours and sizes - were showcased at an in-store event at John Lewis, Exeter where many items in the range sold out.
Ghost nets are fishing nets which have been abandoned in the ocean and then wash up along the coastline or sink to the ocean floor; nets, lines and other fishing industry kit are known as ‘ghost gear’ because of their ability to continue killing wildlife long after the boats have left it behind.
Every year tens of thousands of seals and whales, dolphins and porpoises are killed by lost fishing gear, along with sea birds, turtles and sharks – it’s a global problem from which Cornwall is not immune.
Overseen by Amelia, discarded net is collected and cleaned using ocean-friendly products before being transformed into a Ghost Net Bracelet; each is a one-off and comes with a card explaining the process and a little map of Cornwall identifying where the specific net is from.