Fishing for plastic at Bristol

BRISTOL Harbour achieved international attention last year when protestors toppled the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston and tipped it into the harbour. More lastingly damaging is the amount of plastic that gets dumped in the water – a new boat aims to help tackle that problem.

Seacycler, a 12-seater, launched by environmental charity Hubbub, is made from 99% recycled plastic and will be permanently based in Bristol Harbour. It was funded by Bunzl, a distribution and outsourcing company, and world food company Danone UK & Ireland, and has been donated to education consultants Sustainable Hive.

The boat will take local people out on “plastic fishing” trips to raise awareness of the growing levels of plastic pollution in Bristol’s waterways and to educate schoolchildren and businesses about the impact of litter on the environment and the value of recycling plastic.

Seacycler is made from single-use plastic and is only the sixth of its kind in the world. Built by craftsman Mark Edwards, who also built the Queen’s barge Gloriana, the boat has a design based on a traditional punt, but is made from the most modern of materials – Plaswood, a hardwearing alternative to wood made entirely from recycled plastic. Some of this was repurposed from packaging recycled at Danone’s UK offices.

Seacycler will be moored at Young Bristol pontoon from where plastic fishing trips will start. The boat will help remove plastic debris from the harbour. This will be recycled and go towards making further boats with the same aim – a fantastic example of the circular economy in action.

The first punt made from recycled plastic, the Poly-Mer, was launched in London in 2017 and so far has taken 2,700 people plastic fishing, collecting 2,819 plastic bottles from the Docklands to be used to build more recycled plastic boats.

The plastic fishing trips will be available free to local schools and to local businesses for a fee – for more information contact

Photographs by Paul Driver/Hubbub