Researchers are using a new filter made from jellyfish mucus to reduce plastic waste found in seawater.
Scientists from 15 scientific institutions across eight countries are collaborating in a project called GoJelly which aims to develop a gelatinous solution to plastic pollution in the sea. The project began in 2017, receiving four-year funding by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany is coordinating the project. The new solution to minimising plastic waste in seawater uses a microplastics filter made from jellyfish mucus. Dr Dror Angel, Laboratory Head at the University of Haifa’s Department of Maritime Civilizatons, has been leading a team of researchers to create the filter. The scientists will also be testing the suitability of jellyfish as fertilizers or fish feed.
The next stages will include testing various plastic particles and sourcing large numbers of jellyfish from the sea. As well as reducing plastic pollution, the project will create more jobs for commercial fishers to harvest jellyfish in off-seasons. Dr Jamileh Javidpour, Project Coordinator from GEOMAR, said: “We hope that not only we will widen our knowledge about jellyfish and their lives, but also lay the groundwork for innovative and environmentally friendly new products that will eventually create new jobs”. The project stakeholders – including industry partners and commercial fishers – will test the prototype in the Norwegian, Baltic and Mediterranean seas.