Local couple turns ghost nets into shopping bags
A couple living in Büyükada, the largest of Istanbul’s nine Princes’ Islands, has been making shopping bags from abandoned fishing nets, also known as “ghost nets,” that settle at the bottom of the sea over time.
A Büyükada resident, Serço Ekşiyan, who has been diving around the archipelago for 47 years, collects nets left by fishermen at the bottom of Marmara Sea, while his 58-year-old wife Aytül Ekşiyan makes shopping bags, pareos, and shawls out of these by knitting them.
Heybeliada-based Princes’ Islands Association for Life with Sea and Sports Club (ADYSK) were the ones to give the couple their very first order last year. The couple has been using their income earned to buy food for stray animals.
Corals and starfish ornaments are also used as accessories to adorn these bags made of fishnets. It takes about two and a half days approximately to stitch these interesting pieces.
Products that are completely handmade are not offered for sale, instead, they are given in return for donations to raise awareness.
Abandoned fishing nets create a huge problem called “ghost fishing.”
These nets can travel long distances from their points of origin and can remain in the seas long after they are discarded, resulting in the entrapment and death of marine mammals, sea birds and fish.