A game changer for sustainable fishing – Polar Fishing Gear receives Nefco financing for its innovative trawl doors

Polar Fishing Gear receives financing from Nefco’s Green Recovery Programme to boost global operations for its innovative recycled and reusable plastic fishing gear.

Polar Fishing Gear (Polar) is an Icelandic family-owned company with vast experience of designing fishing gear. With more than 40 years in the business, the company designs products that can help minimise the environmental impacts of fishing activities and improve the efficiency of fishing doors.

Polar has developed an innovative approach to opening fishing nets that will have positive environmental impacts on the marine ecosystem. Pluto is a remotely controllable fishing door made from recycled plastics. Designed for large fleets of small fishing boats, Pluto uses rotationally moulded plastic materials, which improves the hydrodynamics of ships and helps reduce fuel consumption.

“The idea for the Pluto fishing doors made from recycled plastic was to find solutions to plastic waste, especially in the oceans. Our first target is to improve fishing for the world’s small boat fleets, replacing old door designs made from wooden boards and simple steel with highly efficient Pluto fishing doors,” says Atli Már Jósafatsson, CEO, Polar Fishing Gear.

Seabed protection, circularity and reduced fuel consumption in the fishing industry

Traditional wooden trawl doors rely on contact with the seabed to generate some of the forces needed to spread fishing nets, damaging the seabed environment. Pluto doors require no contact with the seabed to open fishing nets, minimising the impact on marine ecosystems and reducing fuel consumption by up to 25% compared to traditional fishing doors.

“Our Pluto plastic doors can be operated successfully without direct contact with the seabed. This will support sustainable fishing and improve the economic performance of small-boat fishermen in less developed countries,” says Jósafatsson.

Pluto doors tackle marine and waste pollution from beginning to end. The product is made from recycled plastic that can be recycled again at the end of its working lifetime, contributing to a circular economy.

“Polar is a forerunner in developing sustainable fishing gear. The unique design of Pluto doors is shown to be highly efficient, consuming less fuel and protecting the fragile ecosystems of the seabed by addressing issues related to plastic waste,” says Meeri Kaurissaari, Investment Officer, Nefco.

Nordic financing for the internationalisation of innovative fishing solutions

Some years ago, Polar’s innovative fishing gear was introduced to the Russian and Chinese markets with the support from the Nordic Project Fund (Nopef). These Nopef grants helped Polar Trawl Doors to conduct market research and feasibility studies. As a result, Polar opened local offices in Saint Petersburg and established itself in China.

To further boost its Pluto trawl doors globally, Polar is receiving financing from Nefco’s Green Recovery Loan Programme. “It is a great honour to have Nefco’s approval and support for the project, helping us to implement environmental protections and restore sustainability in fishing,” adds Jósafatsson. The financing will help Polar to continue testing and improving the Pluto doors, as well as increase its human resources to focus on further expansion and accelerating the transition to a sustainable fishing industry.

“Polar has a clear advantage in developing sustainable fishing gear with its existing product development and extensive experience in the industry. Nefco is excited to be part of Polar’s growth story and we are eager to follow the product development in the future,” says Kaurissaari.

Nefco’s Green Recovery Programme offers financing for Nordic small and medium-sized companies to support international growth outside the Nordic countries and accelerate the scale-up of Nordic green solutions. More about Nefco’s Green Recovery financing.

For further information, please contact:

Meeri Kaurissaari, Investment Officer, Nefco
meeri.kaurissaari@nefco.int, +358 (0)10 6180 682

About Polar Fishing Gear

Polar Fishing Gear (Polar Toghlerar Ehf) was established in 2003 in Reykjavík, Iceland, designing, developing and producing commercial fishing gear, including highly efficient fishing doors. The sales and distribution of the fishing gear are done through a worldwide network developed through years of experience in the business. Polar’s mission is to support sustainable fisheries by improving fishing gear technology. Polar’s latest products, PLUTO and POSEIDON fishing doors, are designed and manufactured to meet the highest standards in eco-friendly fishing.

Small fishing boat using Polar’s fishing gear, pluto.
Photo credits: Polar Fishing Gear

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