Northeast
Caitlin Townsend, advocating for fishermen by collecting old fishing nets, walks past nets set for recycling. (Photo by Peter Pereira).

MA - Recycling company works with New Bedford fishermen to collect old gear

When you love what you do, as is case for Caitlin Townsend, advocating for fishermen by collecting old fishing nets, ropes and other gear in New Bedford so it can be recycled feels like a dream job.

“If I knew that this was a job option when I was a kid, I would have said this is my dream job, because it is something I am so extremely passionate about,” she said.

It may not sound like everyone’s dream job, but Townsend feels she’s making a difference working for Net Your Problem, a fishing gear recycling service doing its part for the fishing industry as the Massachusetts representative.

“My dad taught me so much as a kid,” she said. “I learned from him that fishermen love the ocean more than anywhere and they would do anything to continue to fish. So programs like this and our business can really help people be able to continue to fish,” said Townsend, a resident of Truro.

Her father, Chris Townsend, fishes out of Provincetown, and she still fishes with him as much as she can. When she was a teenager, she fished full-time with him as his deckhand.

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How Net Your Problem works

Net Your Problem founder Nicole Baker, a Pacific groundfish observer for the state of Alaska, was visiting different ports during the summer and fishing in obscure places, and noticed all the fishing nets and ropes lying around on the shores of different harbors.

She asked the fishermen in the ports why it was all just sitting there, and they explained to her that they were paying storage fees to keep the rope no longer used for fishing, because it was difficult to dispose of it all.

Keeping this in mind, Baker came up the idea for Net Your Problem. Instead of paying storage fees, the fishing community can pay her to dispose of the nets and rope by working with a company in Europe to recycle them. She started the business in Alaska, working from her home base in Seattle, and proceeded to expand into Southern California and into Maine. The focus in Maine, for example, is primarily on lobster line.Keeping this in mind, Baker came up the idea for Net Your Problem. Instead of paying storage fees, the fishing community can pay her to dispose of the nets and rope by working with a company in Europe to recycle them. She started the business in Alaska, working from her home base in Seattle, and proceeded to expand into Southern California and into Maine. The focus in Maine, for example, is primarily on lobster line.eeping this in mind, Baker came up the idea for Net Your Problem. Instead of paying storage fees, the fishing community can pay her to dispose of the nets and rope by working with a company in Europe to recycle them. She started the business in Alaska, working from her home base in Seattle, and proceeded to expand into Southern California and into Maine. The focus in Maine, for example, is primarily on lobster line.

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