The Waterhaul Story
InspirationEvery surf. Every dive. The most common item on every beach clean. In 2018, Waterhaul's founder, Harry Dennis, was working as marine scientist for a charity project engaging community action on plastic pollution. He'd been fortunate to travel the world for both research and adventure. However, the bright green strands of ghost gear that were a ubiquitous sight on every shoreline, from the Arctic Circle to the Coral Triangle developed a frustration.
InceptionA key moment was the realisation that all of the properties which make lost fishing gear such a problem; its abundance, its strength and durability, and its entanglement impacts, combine to make it both an excellent resource as a material and a priority target to remove from the ocean. After many recycling trials, Waterhaul was founded in 2018, repurposing the fisheries term 'waterhaul' meaning an empty catch. Unlike it's original negative connotations, for us, hauling an empty net from the ocean is a success core to our manifesto.
MissionOur activities are anchored in purpose. As a social-enterprise, we exist to deliver our mission; to tackle ghost gear in oceans by transforming waste to valued resource. After months of design trials, errors and material failures, we finally produced our first functional prototype in November 2018.
Abandoned fishing gear and nets are the most common and also the most lethal forms of plastic in our ocean.
In a phenomenon known as ‘ghost fishing’, the entangled and trapped marine life will attract more species, resulting in an ongoing loop of catches . As these discarded nets are produced from plastic, they will not degrade, persisting in the ocean to catch and kill marine life indefinitely.
We founded Waterhaul as frustrated marine conservationists - every winter our beaches were inundated with ghost gear and we were finding lines and offcuts daily. Our pile of collected nets grew and grew (as did our neighbours disapproval of the smell) which motivated us towards a solution. We developed a mechanical recycling solution to process various forms of end-of-life fishing gear, and produced our first pair of sunglasses in 2018.
The properties which make ghost gear such a threat in our oceans; the size and abundance of net, the quality of the high-strength polymers used, and the urgency to remove the plastic from harms way, all make fishing nets a desirable recycling resource. And as we suspected, fishing nets durable enough to last 500 years in ocean make for super-strong sunglasses frames.
FOR YOUR OCEAN ADVENTURES
We utilise the strongest form of plastic in our oceans to produce exceptionally sustainable, recycled eyewear. Eyewear that meets the technical demands of adventure, ocean-exposure and UV protection, but also act as ‘symbols of change’ for our oceans. Waterhaul sunglasses frames last you a lifetime, because they are made from nets that would last decades in the ocean.
We're passionate about combining adventure with purpose - action on the ocean, for the oceans. Our eyewear is designed to meet the demands of this environment and enhance your experience whilst symbolising and hopefully inspiring marine conservation. Share our ethos? We'd love to hear from you if so!
Collected from across the coastline of Cornwall. We're also developing schemes to assist preventing gear loss at the source, alongside a port based pilot scheme in Pembrokeshire.
Gear is separated by polymer type, and then recycled through a mechanical process of shredding, washing and agglomeration.
With our 100% recycled raw material, we injection mould this plastic into purposeful products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Meet the team
I'm a marine scientist with an entrepreneurial mindset. I've been working in the field of plastic pollution since 2017, but decided to focus on the issue of ghost gear after finding it's presence on every shoreline and witnessing it's impacts first-hand whilst diving. I'm motivated by changing people's perceptions of plastic 'waste' and combining environmental and social purpose into our work.
Driven by my passion for marine conservation and drawing on my experience in sales, hospitality and the environmental charity sector, I manage the Waterhaul team and our production and logistics. Growing up in Cornwall, I have always loved being surrounded by the ocean. Whilst surfing, diving and walking along the beaches, I have sadly witnessed first-hand the dramatic increase in plastic pollution and ghost gear washing up on our shores. Seeing this every day is my motivation to take action and make a positive difference.
Before Waterhaul, I taught a university accredited marine biology course and scuba diving on circumnavigating sailing vessel. Within my course, I had a strong emphasis on plastic pollution and climate change, but also the positive impact we as individuals can have on the environment. Now settled on dry land, I'm developing and delivering PlaNET Action; a unique education programme involving hands-on ocean plastic recycling workshops which will enable people to connect with the environmental issues we are facing and empower them to make positive change.
As Waterhaul's Head of B2B Sales, I am able to draw upon nearly 10 years of experience in customer service and sales to develop new relationships with wholesale customers, identify new partners and build lasting relationships to not only work towards growing our own positive impact, but support others to achieve their goals of becoming more environmentally focused. The ocean is engrained into my family history and has always been an important place for me to re-focus and enjoy, which is why I am doing what I can to preserve it.
As Equipment Coordinator for Waterhaul, I help supply the tools to enable members of the community to take action in tackling plastic pollution on our shores, rivers, streets and parks. With a background in fundraising for a marine conservation charity, it's awesome to see more schools and councils encouraging sustainability and becoming more environmentally conscious. I want to help protect what I love and believe direct actions like beach cleans make a big difference to the ocean - somewhere my family and I have always been drawn to, whether we are scuba diving on the other side of the world, kayaking, building sandcastles with our little girl or walking our dog here in beautiful Cornwall.
With sustainability being at the forefront of my mind in everything I do and set out to achieve, it was a blessing to join the team at Waterhaul and be a part of their solution to the abundance of abandoned fishing nets by turning them into purposeful and beautiful products, which can be used to enjoy our beautiful coastline and help tackle the problem of litter & plastic waste. Taking pride in quality checking and dispatching your sunglasses and beach cleaning equipment, I am excited for the journey ahead here. See you out in the ocean!
I’ve joined Waterhaul’s team as the Marketing Coordinator to help spread the word about our mission, as well as using my background in Photography and Digital Marketing to keep our website and social media pages engaged and exciting. Having grown up here in Cornwall, the ocean has always been a huge part of my life, so being able to give something back (ironically by taking something away; ghost gear!) is really important to me! I’m super stoked to be a part of the Waterhaul team and am excited to be making a difference for our shores.
With a background in ecology and Wildlife Conservation, I am passionate about protecting our environment. This drives me in my role as B2B Sales Coordinator, which involves identifying and forming relationships with new stockists, to build our positive impact and provide businesses with eco-conscious products. I'm very excited to be working in a role that is playing a part in tackling issues such as plastic pollution! When I'm not growing our NETwork, you'll find me litter-picking along the beautiful Cornish coastline.
As a current zoological conservation student with a passion and addiction for surfing and anything beach and water related, I am very happy to have this opportunity to be part of the team at Waterhaul and people that share the same ethos. Growing up around our dramatic coasts of Pembrokeshire and Cornwall has given me an insight into the pure beauty and wilderness of our coastline, and what happiness it brings to us and all the wildlife that we share it with. Over time, as we see nature become an essential need for us to take action to sustain, I personally think the drive to work with resourceful and inspiring companies such as Waterhaul, that aim to be part of the difference, is a blessing and pleasure!
As a Marine Sport Science student, and avid surfer, my passion lies in the ocean. Having travelled across the globe, I have seen first-hand the damage that plastic pollution and ghost netting can do to the environment and our oceans. Being given the opportunity to work for Waterhaul allows me to give back and help maintain an area that I love. Working alongside people who have the same passion as myself gives me a great space to learn more about the issues our waters face and together we can make a difference.
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