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Sareak – Real Sociedad x Panthalassa

By Panthalassa

Under the slogan "Saving the ocean is our games", unused nets have been rescued from the sea and turned into soccer goal nets.

640,000 tons of fishing nets end up at the bottom of our oceans every year. Panthalassa and Real Sociedad’s Foundation, ¬†with the collaboration of the Basque Fisherwomen Association, the Real Sociedad underwater section and with the sponsorship of Salto Systems, ¬†have launched “Sareak, saving the ocean is our game.”

This is a circular economy project thanks to which unused nets are rescued from the bottom of the sea, from the ports and warehouses of Gipuzkoa and recycled to turn them into soccer goal nets.

With this project, Real Sociedad and its foundation take another step forward in their strategy of sustainability and care for the environment.

A project that began to be conceived more than two years ago and has been developed in three phases. In the first “Rescue” phase, all efforts were focused on locating the nets, identifying them and planning the immersion for collection. In this first phase, always under the technical direction of Panthalassa, the work of the underwater section of the Royal Society was very important.

In a second phase, the “conversion” process began. Once the nets were obtained, they needed to be transformed in order to give them a second life. This is where the “rederas” played a special role.

The fisherwomen known as “rederas” form an essential part of the history and culture of the Basque Country, and for more than ten centuries they have been one of the pillars of the Basque economy. For Real Sociedad Fundazioa, one of the most important aspects of the SAREAK project has been to be able to give these women work and give visibility to this profession, which is so deeply rooted in our culture. They represent many of the values that the Real Sociedad is so proud of.

Once the nets had been woven and prepared by the net-makers, and after dyeing them white, the last phase was the “Delivery”. In this first case, the goals of the School Championship of Playa de la Concha. In the last day we started with the delivery of these nets. The school soccer of Donostia is the final recipient in this first phase of these nets.

Taking advantage of one of the beach soccer days held in La Concha, the first matches were played with goal nets obtained from the seabed and the ports of Gipuzkoa.

The Sareak project has just started, after designing the process and seeing the feasibility of it, the objective from now on is to continue recycling these nets to give them a second life with different destinations even beyond the soccer fields.

This project is the result of the desire to think of another life for the nets, activating current trades, traditional knowledge and technology, contributing to the entrepreneurial and responsible fabric by putting in communication the actors of the territory.

The presentation ceremony held this morning at the Reale Arena was attended by Andori Iraola, Director of Real Sociedad Fundazioa, Sergio Penzo, creative director of Panthalassa, Edurne Salaberria, from the Networking Association of Gipuzkoa, Manu Diaz, President of the Gipuzkoa Football Federation and Borja Ganzarain Brand – Communications & Content Marketing of Salto Systems.

Andoni Iraola, after thanking all the entities involved in this project for their participation, pointed out that for Real Sociedad Fundazioa this is one of the most complicated projects to execute and yet it is turning out to be one of the most rewarding. “It is not only about the need to take care of our seas and raise awareness about it, but also to promote the culture of recycling, the circular economy in short,” he said.

For his part, Sergio Penzo, creative director of Panthalassa has pointed out that "creativity has a great role in our responsibility to the environment, it has the power to take something as serious as the fragility of our oceans and turn it into a project like SAREAK that addresses the issue in an active and positive way".