Washington, DC - March 22, 2013 – Fishing for Energy, the public-private partnership aimed at reducing the adverse effects of derelict fishing gear (gear that is lost in the marine environment) and marine debris, today awarded four grants through the Fishing for Energy Fund. The grants will support projects that reduce derelict fishing gear in and around coastal waterways and increase public awareness of the threat derelict gear and marine debris pose to the marine environment. The Fishing for Energy Fund is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and is a partnership with Covanta Energy Corporation, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program.
Every day, commercial fishermen around the country deploy hundreds of traps and miles of nets into ocean and coastal waters to land their catches. Due to circumstances out of their control, like powerful weather events and disturbances from other vessels, some gear can vanish at sea. When this happens, fishermen lose both their gear and the associated profits. Moreover, the lost gear continues to capture fish, which degrades the marine habitat and resources. This phenomenon is called ‘ghost fishing’ and is an economic and environmental hardship to fishing industries and coastal communities.
The grants from the Fishing for Energy Fund will engage more than 1,500 fishermen and collect over 40 tons of derelict fishing gear. A total of $383,780 will support projects in the United States, including at-sea gear removal; gear density assessments; research of economic and resource impacts; and, the exploration of prevention technologies. When added to $266,178 in additional funds garnered by the grant recipients, close to $650,000 will support on-the-ground activities to assist fishing communities and protect the marine environment.
“A primary goal of the Fishing for Energy partnership is to reduce the adverse economic and environmental impacts from derelict fishing gear. With these new grants we are investing in research to reduce and prevent the accumulation of derelict fishing gear in the marine and coastal environment,” said Nancy Wallace, Program Director and Division Chief of NOAA’s Marine Debris Program.
Specific Fishing for Energy Fund recipient activities include:
Under the guidance of the College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Chesapeake Bay watermen will remove close to 30,000 derelict blue crab pots from the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay and recycle them.
The Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation will assess the density and environmental impact of derelict fishing gear in the Gulf of Maine and will survey New England lobstermen to assess the economic impact of derelict fishing gear on their activities.
The College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science will assess the effectiveness of various disabling apparatuses to prevent lost gear from ghost fishing
The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies will assess the presence of derelict fishing gear in target areas of the Outer Cape Cod Bay and remove up to 40 tons of fishing gear
“With the Fishing for Energy grant, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts resource managers are working with both fishermen and non-profits to get an estimate of how much gear is in the Gulf of Maine and what possible impact it has to the marine environment and to fishermen,” said Erin Pelletier, Executive Director of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation. “We are very excited about this collaborative regional approach which will help gain more information about derelict fishing gear in the Gulf of Maine, and in turn provide state managers and scientists the ability to look at strategic planning in the future.”
Since 2008, Fishing for Energy has worked closely with state and local agencies, community and fishermen groups, and local ports to assist in the prevention, removal and disposal of derelict fishing gear. The partnership also facilitates conversations and research at the state and regional levels to address derelict fishing gear at scale.
Along with the grant program, the Fishing for Energy partnership places bins at commercial fishing ports where fishermen can dispose of old, unused or abandoned gear free of charge. Through the placement of these bins and grant activities, more than 1.98 million pounds of gear have been collected from commercial fishermen through 2012.
About Fishing for Energy
Fishing for Energy is a partnership between Covanta Energy Corporation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, and Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. The partnership was established in 2008 to address the issue of marine debris and derelict fishing gear. The partnership works to address this problem in two ways: by providing commercial fishermen with no-cost opportunities to dispose of derelict and retired fishing gear, and by offering grant support for direct assessment and removal efforts. By assisting in prevention and removal of derelict fishing gear, Fishing for Energy restores the quality of marine and coastal habitats and supports the communities and industries that rely on these resources.
About Covanta Energy
Covanta Energy Corporation is an internationally recognized owner and operator of large-scale Energy-from-Waste and renewable energy projects. Covanta's 44 Energy-from-Waste facilities provide communities with an environmentally sound solution to their solid waste disposal needs by using that municipal solid waste to generate clean, renewable energy. Annually, Covanta's modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely and securely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste into 9 million megawatt hours of clean, renewable electricity and create more than 9 billion pounds of steam sold to a variety of industries. For more ifnormation, visit www.covantaenergy.com.
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. The NOAA Marine Debris Program, housed within the Office of Response & Restoration, coordinates, strengthens, and increases the visibility of marine debris issues and efforts within the agency, its partners, and the public. The program supports activities at both a national and international level focused on identifying, reducing and preventing debris from entering the marine environment. NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) protects coastal and marine resources, mitigates threats, reduces harm, and restores ecological function. The Office provides comprehensive solutions to environmental hazards caused by oil, chemicals, and marine debris. For more information, visit: www.noaa.gov.
About Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.
Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of recycled ferrous metal products in the United States with 56 operating facilities located in 14 states, Puerto Rico and Western Canada. The business has seven deep water export facilities located on both the East and West Coasts and in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The Company's integrated operating platform also includes its auto parts and steel manufacturing businesses. The Company's auto parts business sells used auto parts through its 50 self-service facilities located in 14 states and Western Canada. With an effective annual production capacity of approximately 800,000 tons, the Company's steel manufacturing business produces finished steel products, including rebar, wire rod and other specialty products. The Company commenced its 106th year of operations in fiscal 2012. Schnitzer was named Scrap Company of the Year by American Metals Market's 2011 Awards for Steel Excellence. This award recognizes advancements rooted in pioneering and implementing business improvements that have delivered real change to the steel industry.