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  /  Actions   /  Action D.1   /  With Legambiente aboard the Goletta Verde in La Spezia LIFE MUSCLES, the project that intends to transform the pollution of mussel farming nets into a circular economy

With Legambiente aboard the Goletta Verde in La Spezia LIFE MUSCLES, the project that intends to transform the pollution of mussel farming nets into a circular economy


Goletta Verde returns to fight the lack of purification and pollution of the seas. Seek solutions to the climate crisis. It protects marine biodiversity and strengthens the system of protected areas 

The conference that will be held on board the Goletta Verde at the Assonautica port of La Spezia aims to disseminate a project of the caliber of Life Muscles to make known the importance of building a more sustainable value chain. The stage in La Spezia was a way to take stock of the situation regarding the current situation of seabed pollution. 

Marine litter is the second global environmental emergency after the climate crisis. With the presentation of the Life MUSCLES project, Legambiente intends to promote an innovative and circular supply chain that is good for the economy and the sea. 

Transforming a part of the aquaculture sector from a cause of sea pollution to a virtuous model of circular economy: this is the impact caused by the dispersion in the marine environment of the nets used in mussel farms. Protecting the marine ecosystem and economic activities related to the sea is the mission of LIFE Muscles, the project co-financed by the LIFE program of the European Commission and coordinated by Legambiente.  

According to FAO data, the production of mussels in Italy is estimated at around 80 thousand tons per year, which corresponds to the use of about 700/1000 tons of polypropylene socks, which must be replaced at least once during the life cycle of the mussel .  

Fundamental tools for farming, polypropylene stockings are however the third most common waste on the seabed in our country, with an annual dispersion of between 7.88 and 9.45 tons [Data from the international cross-border cooperation project De Fish Gear, focused in Italy in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas]. 

There are two pilot areas of Life Muscles: the North Gargano on the Adriatic Sea, where the mobile recycling plant will be developed e La Spezia on the Tyrrhenian Seawhere the polypropylene socks will be replaced with those in BP and recycling and composting tests will be carried out.  

“The actions of the project focus on the recovery and recycling for the production of new nets for mussel farming, minimizing their dispersion in the sea and on the beach and promoting their replacement with biodegradable and compostable ones – states Federica Barbera, spokeswoman for Goletta Verde – Polypropylene socks for mussel farming, in fact, constitute the third most common waste on the beaches in the seas of our country: a critical issue that emerged thanks to the monitoring activities that have always involved the association. With the project we will involve the most virtuous realities rather than the most critical areas regarding this problem for a part of the aquaculture sector due to pollution of the seas in a virtuous model of circular economy". 

The project started in October 2021 brings together a partnership made up of the University of Bologna, La Sapienza University of Rome (Department of Chemistry), University of Siena, Mediterranean Aquaculture Association (AMA), Novamont, Rom Plastica, Società Agricola Ittica Del Giudice ( Gargano) and the Associated Mussel Farmers Cooperative (La Spezia). 



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