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BoatUS Foundation and Berkley Host Contest That Will Make Fishing More Environmentally Friendly

ANNAPOLIS, MD- On Oct. 7, the winners of the Sept. 2020 BoatUS Foundation and Berkley Recast and Recycle Contest were announced. The competition aimed to find a way to recycle fishing line and soft bait.

The three winners were announced and collectively won $30,000 in prize money.

First place and $15,000 went to Abigail Askew, recent graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design. First Askew designed a survey for anglers on what prevented them from recycling line and baits. Then Askew addressed those concerns with her contest concept, which was also her school’s senior year capstone project.

“Anglers want to do what’s best for the environment, but I found they don’t always know how to or have a way to recycle,” said Askew to

Askew’s theoretical invention was the “Berkley Recycling Machine.” The machine highlights line and bait recycling, instead of throwing discarded line away at local retailers. Askew, who earned her B.F.A. in Industrial Design, suggests that her machine could be placed in retailers and at launch sites, becoming a popular novelty.

Second place and $10,000 went to Eric Vaughn’s prototype “Integrated Line De-Spooler.”

Vaughn’s innovative constructive solution inserts a new, smaller spool, used to take up old line that has had hooks removed, into a standard line spool, essentially “nesting” the spools in the existing empty space found inside spools sold at retailers today.

“This allows anglers to quickly and efficiently manage the despool/respool process. Once the old line is removed and stored on the small spool by way of a special chuck (included) and electric drill, it’s snapped neatly back into the standard size spool where the new line awaits easy spooling to your reel – functioning the same as it does normally,” said BoatUS.

Lastly, third place and $5,000 went to a team of Product Design Innovation students from Western Michigan University, Laura Nicholas, Anna Hurst, Maxwell Downey, and Ross Malackowski. The group created their app, “Hook Bait,” which encourages the use of sustainable alternatives to fishing lines and soft bait. By scanning a QR code at recycling centers, the app records what you recycle and gives rewards like eco-friendly fishing supplies based on the individual fishing style. These incentives could include hip waders or water shoes made from the recycled fishing materials.

The BoatUS Foundation and Berkley hope to raise awareness of these prizewinning ideas to further support research and development in clean and responsible boating.

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