Circular Ocean - Inspiring Communities to realise the hidden economic opportunities of discarded fishing nets and ropes in the Northern Periphery & Arctic region  FAQs

Circular Ocean is a European project which seeks to inspire enterprises and entrepreneurs to realise the hidden opportunities of discarded fishing nets in the Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) region.

The Circular Ocean project is funded under the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA), part of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Circular Ocean project features a cohesive and strong collaboration of committed project and associated partners from a diverse range of NPA regions representing remote and rural communities.


The five Circular Ocean partners are:

  • The Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College UHI (Scotland)
  • Macroom E (Rep. of Ireland)
  • Centre for Sustainable Design, University for the Creative Arts (England)
  • Artic Technology Centre (Greenland)
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)

Additional Associate Partners include:

  • Nofir AS (Norway)
  • Marine Scotland (Scotland)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (Rep. of Ireland)
  • – Local Enterprise Office South Cork (Rep. of Ireland)
  • – Innovation Center Iceland (Iceland)
  • – Northern Ireland Fishery Harbour Authority (N. Ireland).

To read more about the Project Partners, click here.

Blue Growth is defined by the European Union’s 2020 strategy as “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth from the oceans, seas and coasts.”

Eco-innovation is a process focused on the creation, development and commercialisation of resource efficient, low carbon products, services, technologies and new business models that produce lower environmental impact and/or that solve environmental problems. Eco-innovation is about new ideas and R&D but it is importantly about getting those new solutions to the market. Those new solutions can be minor improvements to exist solutions, re-designs or radical breakthrough innovation.” Professor Martin Charter, Director, The Centre for Sustainable Design

Ghost nets refer to the discarded and drifting nets which continue to catch and kill fish and sea mammals for many years before eventually ending up as waste in coastal areas.

As defined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a Circular Economy is one that is “restorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles.”

There are a number of stakeholders that will benefit from the Circular Ocean project, of which some include:

  • SMEs/Businesses
  • Eco-innovators
  • Fishing Industry
  • Remote and Rural Communities
  • Social Enterprises
  • Product Designers
  • Municipalities and Council Bodies
  • Educators
  • Researchers

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and sign up to our newsletter too! Circular Ocean will also be hosting a number of workshops throughout the lifetime of the project also. These workshops will take place in each of the NPA regions involved in the project and will bring together There will also be an eco-innovation competition held too, relating to the re-use of discarded fishing. Click here for more information about the competition.

The project offers a number of business supports including:

  • Creating a regional showcase for circular economy innovation
  • Work with SMEs to develop enterprises, creating new employment opportunities and providing added value to existing jobs
  • Products and services that result from Circular Ocean’s research will be trialled locally to support and promote social enterprises
  • Local, transferable skills will be developed, focussing on processes that require no capital investments or complex manufacturing processes
  • We will work with local SMEs in the NPA area and connect with key stakeholders so to make best use of the available resources
  • The Green Economy Business Suite –a guide for communities, businesses and entrepreneurs within the NPA region.