Dissoluble fishing line an eco-friendly success

February 21, 2011 The Yomiuri Shimbun

At first glance, it's just looks like plain old fishing line - but the strong filament is actually a technological innovation made of special plastic that dissolves into carbon dioxide and water through the work of microorganisms in water.

"The time it takes depends on and other conditions, but it usually dissolves completely in five years," said Tokuo Ichikawa, the person in charge of developing the product at Globeride Inc., a fishing-gear company based in Higashi-Kurume, Tokyo.

The impetus for developing an environment-friendly fishing line came five years ago when Ichikawa, 53, and his colleagues took part in recovering discarded fishing line and sinkers underwater at Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture. A small truck full of garbage, including fishing gear, is collected at the lake every day.

"Garbage you find on the ground should be removed out of common decency, but garbage left underwater should be taken away by companies," Ichikawa said.

Making stout fishing line from a fragile, naturally dissoluble material was challenging. Ichikawa solved the problem by using a stretchable material that was about 80 percent as strong as a regular nylon fishing line.

In July, Globeride started selling a hook rig using the textile. Even though it was 10 percent more expensive, the product sold out quickly and they had to scramble to produce enough to meet the demand.

In 2002, the firm developed a sinker made of tungsten instead of lead, which is toxic. A tungsten sinker has less of an adverse impact on the environment, but products made of this rare metal cost 10 times more than off-the-shelf sinkers.

Globeride's president deemed it too expensive to sell, but employees noticed the relatively small but high-density tungsten product could be cast further than the lead sinker. The tungsten sinker was released under the advertising slogan, "Only you can hit the unreachable spot" and was named "Top Gun." Sales took off.

"Products won't sell just because they're 'environmentally friendly.' We have to sell things without lowering their quality. If we can do that, an awareness of biodegradable material will spread," Ichikawa said.

Ichikawa said he and his colleagues will develop fishing line using natural materials such as rice and corn in the future.

Explore further: Virtual fishing to get reel in Japan

0 shares

Related Stories

Virtual fishing to get reel in Japan

January 25, 2011

Good news for busy, urban anglers: Japanese toymaker Tomy will release an augmented reality fishing rod allowing users to feel a bite and reel in a heavy fish regardless of their location.

Fishing boat crew acquitted

November 6, 2005

The crew of a fishing vessel have been acquitted in Australia of illegal fishing for the Patagonian tooth fish, known on restaurant menus as Chilean seabass.

Dolphin population at risk in Britain

May 16, 2007

A report from the Wildlife Trusts and an animal charity has found that commercial fishing in Britain is placing the regional dolphin population at risk.

Recommended for you

A damming trend

December 14, 2018

Hundreds of dams are being proposed for Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia. The negative social and environmental consequences—affecting everything from food security to the environment—greatly outweigh the positive ...

Data from Kilauea suggests the eruption was unprecedented

December 14, 2018

A very large team of researchers from multiple institutions in the U.S. has concluded that the Kilauea volcanic eruption that occurred over this past summer represented an unprecedented volcanic event. In their paper published ...

The long dry: global water supplies are shrinking

December 13, 2018

A global study has found a paradox: our water supplies are shrinking at the same time as climate change is generating more intense rain. And the culprit is the drying of soils, say researchers, pointing to a world where drought-like ...

Death near the shoreline, not life on land

December 13, 2018

Our understanding of when the very first animals started living on land is helped by identifying trace fossils—the tracks and trails left by ancient animals—in sedimentary rocks that were deposited on the continents.

New climate model to be built from the ground up

December 13, 2018

Facing the certainty of a changing climate coupled with the uncertainty that remains in predictions of how it will change, scientists and engineers from across the country are teaming up to build a new type of climate model ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.