A Truly Plastic-Neutral Fishery, crafted after three years of the Ghost Gear Removal Competition in the Azores, in which artisanal fishers remove ocean plastics, is a film that captures the essence of sustainability and the Azores as a beacon of hope in a world seeking solutions for a healthier, plastic-free ocean.


A Truly Plastic-Neutral Fishery tells the inspiring journey of the Azorean Fleet as they redefine responsible tuna fishing. Against the backdrop of a world grappling with plastic pollution and overfishing, International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) partnered with award-winning National Geographic photographer, Pepe Brix, to develop the film which explores the innovative methods of the Azorean fishers and their commitment to becoming the world’s first plastic-neutral fishery.

As the narrative unfolds, the documentary sheds light on the environmental threats of industrial fishing practices and challenges viewers to make conscious choices for a sustainable future. Can the Azores be a beacon of hope in a world where we choose between responsible and destructive fishing practices?

Catch A Truly Plastic-Neutral Fishery on the Big Screen

In the wake of three successful years of hosting the Ghost Gear Removal Competitions, the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF), together with renowned videographer Pepe Brix will première it’s film “A Truly Plastic-Neutral Fishery” at the Pacific Whale Foundation’s 8th Annual World Whale Film Festival, an event dedicated to celebrating marine conservation efforts and indigenous ecological knowledge, on June 6, 2024.

The film highlights the pressing concerns surrounding plastic pollution in our oceans; it underscores the Azores pole-and-line fishery’s commitment to sustainability and quality by becoming the world’s first “plastic-neutral” fishery, aiming to hold the fishing industry accountable for its contribution to ocean plastic pollution.


Taking the World Stage

The escalating global concern over oceanic plastic pollution prompts a call to action. Coastal areas, including the Azores, grapple with plastic waste (plastic bottles, packaging, and ALDFG), adversely affecting endangered species and ecosystems. Despite local communities not being primary contributors to this issue, they bear the brunt of plastic infiltration, particularly on small islands. We believe everyone should see this film and think about the effect large-scale industrial fishing vessel have on out oceans, as opposed to artisanal fisheries whose livelihoods depend on the ocean that catch in balance with nature. 

We would love it if you would share our film and stories at your film festival, conference, or event! Please connect with us at press@ipnlf.org to discuss options.


Thank You

We would like to acknowledge and thank our partners of the ‘The Plastic Neutrality Project’, launched in collaboration with the Sea Observatory of the Azores (OMA), Programa de Observaçao para as Pescas dos Açores (POPA)IMAR, Associação de Produtores de Atum e Similares dos Açores (APASA), and Federação das Pescas dos Açores (FPA).

We would like to acknowledge and thank Fish4ever and Biocoop France for their financial support, their commitment to the Azores fishery, and their responsible, ethical sourcing practices.

“I grew up surrounded by fishers and A Truly Plastic-Natural Fishery, as well as the Tuna Tales I created for IPNLF before this film, allowed me to, somehow, be part of a change that I know has to come. I dove deep into the problems around the fishing industry and listened to the voices of those who feel it directly. When listening to their stories you are left with no doubt that fishing is crucial for their survival. For example, in Cape Verde they need to take more and more risks as they are forced  to go far out at sea to catch half of what they used to catch close to the shore. A Truly Platic-Neutral Fishery has been more than a photographic or videographic project, it has been a very strong introspective journey for Lamy and I, and we keep, printed on our hearts, each word spoken from these men and women.”
– Pepe Brix, A Truly Plastic-Neutral Fishery

“While the Azores are often regarded as a pristine environment, we are located far away from large cities, there is no industrial fishing going on it is mostly artisanal fisheries operating here. We still have a problem with plastic debris floating in the environment. This is because we are located right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Large-scale currents accumulate all the plastic that enters the Atlantic and into this region.

– Christopher Pham – Senior Researcher at OKEANOS – Azores / IMAR

“This method of tuna fishing is far more selective, and therefore, it’s far more sustainable than other methods of tuna fishing and is often associated with more social and economic benefits because the wealth is distributed throughout the supply chain and is recirculated among communities.

– Emilia Dyer – IPNLF Policy Manager (2022-2023)

“In this fishery, we produce a minimal amount of nylon. Specifically, we are talking about something like 300 grams per 1,000 tons of tuna. That is 1 to 2 kilos per year in the context of the entire Azorean fleet and in the 3 years of this garbage collection contest, we managed to collect more than 2 tons of marine litter. And because of this, we were recognised worldwide as the first plastic-neutral fishery.” 

– Miguel Machete – POPA Coordinator, IMAR-CMA Department of Oceanography and Fisheries