The world is abuzz about ocean plastic. As beaches are smothered and animals are strangled by decades of refuse floating through miles of ocean ecosystems, one type of waste problem is only just beginning to surface in these conversations: fishing gear.
All over the world, lost or abandoned fishing nets, pots, and traps are left behind to continue to claim marine lives for decades more. It’s a sad, pointless problem, and one that scientists have only begun to become aware of in the last few decades.
The problem is known as ghost fishing. All throughout the world’s oceans, ghostly veils of long forgotten fishing nets cling to reefs and shipwrecks or float aimlessly through the currents. As they do, they collect debris and marine life, until they eventually grow heavy enough to sink to the ocean floor. Here, scavengers pick the net’s victims from its entanglement, until eventually, the net is free again and floats back to the surface to resume its rotation.
These nets and fishing gear are made of some of the strongest and most durable fibers on earth — heavy duty nylons and plastics that will never biodegrade. It’s arguable that until someone steps in to remove them, they can continue ghost fishing for centuries.
Traps and pots pose a similar, albeit unique problem — the victims become bait for more victims. As animals fall inside and starve to death, scavengers become attracted to their remains, and the cycle continues.
This process is endless — it’s estimated that ghost fishing claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of marine animals every year.
From Sunken Nets to Super Sunnies
One company has taken notice of the problem and has taken it upon themselves to start working on solving it.
Costa is a sunglasses brand known for making some of the best polarized sunglasses on the planet. Built for adventures at sea, the brand was founded by fisherman who needed products as strong and wild as their days were.
Being passionate about spending time on the water means you become personally invested in the health of the world’s oceans — that’s how the Tangled collection was born.
Costa is now collecting abandoned fishing nets in Chile and processing the materials into tiny plastic pellets which are then repurposed into their new line of sunglasses. This, alongside their initiatives to reduce their packaging waste and use of plastic, put Costa on our radar, and we knew we had to go in for a closer look.
Check out These Shades
Costa sent me a pair of their Victoria sunglasses from their Tangled line to take for a spin. I’ll be honest — I’m a cheapskate when it comes to sunglasses, but after trying these bad boys out, now I get it.
The first thing I noticed about these shades was that even though they were made from plastic, the material is ridiculously sturdy. I didn’t think it was possible for a plastic pair of sunglasses to feel high-quality, but these proved me wrong. The frames are thick and dense, and totally safe from my complete carelessness. Anything that durable is also reducing future landfill waste, so it scored big points with me.
The polarization on these things can’t be beat. I’ve worn polarized sunglasses before, so I’m familiar with the effects, but after wearing these, it’s clear that whatever magic Costa uses in their patented polarization process is worth protecting. The eye protection is so intense, it actually altered the appearance of my phone’s screen, but never once did I feel like I was sitting in a dark room.
Finally, the fit and look. I got the black frames and black lenses, super simple. These are definitely rugged sunglasses, not very feminine, but they work well with a casual weekend ensemble as they do your run of the mill adventure gear.
I have a pretty giant melon, so these were a bit snug, but even then, not snug enough to be uncomfortable or give me a headache. It definitely seems like they’re built in such a way that they’re meant to stay on your face if you get bumped around a lot (say, while riding a jet ski), but they don’t press so hard on your head that you feel like you’re in a vice.
Overall, these sunglasses are crazy tough and clearly built to last — definitely worth every penny and definitely worth saving the ocean from a fishing net or two.
Show us your shades! Tag us in a photo of you in your Untangled Costa sunglasses on Facebook or Instagram and show some love for the world’s oceans — @AvocadoMattress and @CostaSunglasses