Fishing for Energy Adds Two New Ports in New Jersey to Support Marine Debris Collection Efforts

​Collection bins to provide free recycling and disposal for derelict fishing gear and marine debris removed from local waters

Waretown, New Jersey, February 26, 2016 – The Fishing for Energy partnership, an innovative public-private effort that provides commercial fishermen a no-cost solution to recycle old and unusable fishing gear, today announced that it is partnering with Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF) of New Jersey to recycle an estimated 26,000 pounds of derelict crab pots and other marine debris collected as part of CWF’s removal project over the next two years. Two new Fishing for Energy collection bins are being placed at the ports in Waretown and Mantoloking, which were identified as strategic locations for marine debris collection.

Fishing for Energy is a nationwide partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF); the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program; Covanta, a New Jersey-headquartered sustainable waste and energy solutions company; and Schnitzer Steel Industries, one of the largest metal recycling companies in the United States. The partnership offers conveniently located collection bins for disposal of old fishing gear, making it easy for fishing communities – even small coastal communities like Waretown and Mantoloking, N.J. – to deal with the issue of derelict gear. As a result, the partnership reduces the amount of gear that ends up in U.S. coastal waters and recycles and converts the remaining gear and debris into clean, renewable energy at Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facilities.

This two-year marine debris removal project, led by CWF and supported by a $109,619 NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant, is working with local crabbers to locate and remove more than 1,000 derelict crab pots from Barnegat Bay, N.J. As part of this project, CWF is partnering with the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science, Monmouth University, Stockton University, ReClam the Bay, New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, and the recreational and commercial fishing community to identify, retrieve, and inventory derelict crab pots. The project is also conducting education and outreach activities on the impacts of derelict crab pots including the development of a lesson plan for schools, presentations for the community, developing informational print materials, and collaborating with the WeCrab education and outreach project led by the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve/Rutgers University and Stockton University.

"Derelict crab traps can create navigational hazards, damage habitats, and capture various marine species, including harvestable crabs, resulting in lost catch opportunities and financial losses for fishermen,” said Nancy Wallace, director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. “We are proud to team up with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and their partners to reduce the adverse economic and environmental impacts of derelict traps in Barnegat Bay. We also applaud Covanta for its role in converting the derelict gear removed by this project into energy through the Fishing for Energy partnership.”

“By recycling thousands of dangerous abandoned crab pots, our team is protecting vulnerable wildlife such as the diamondback terrapin, which inhabit the same shallow coastal waters in Barnegat Bay where pots are often lost or abandoned,” said Stephanie Egger, CWF wildlife biologist and principal investigator. “Terrapin population declines, reduced growth, and changes in sex ratios have been directly attributed to by-catch mortality in crab pots. We are so thrilled to work with local fishermen and all of our project partners, particularly the Fishing for Energy program, NOAA, and the New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.”

The Fishing for Energy partnership provided a partial match to this project to fund the transportation and disposal of the gear through Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facility in Union County, N.J. At the Covanta site, any metal found on the debris will be recycled and the remainder of the traps converted into clean, renewable energy that will power area homes and businesses.

“Derelict fishing gear and marine debris place the world’s waterways and oceans in danger,” said Margretta Morris, Covanta vice president of Materials Management and Community Affairs. “Since 2008, Covanta and our partners have worked with grantees and ports across the country to manage the accumulation of derelict fishing gear in the marine and coastal environment. We look forward to helping the beautiful New Jersey shores remain healthy and clean.”

Abandoned or lost fishing equipment can threaten marine life in a number of ways, including by damaging ecosystems as nets and heavy equipment settle upon the ocean floor and through “ghost fishing,” wherein gear continues to catch fish even if abandoned or lost. Gear also can impact navigational safety, damage fishing equipment and boats that are in use, and have economic repercussions on fishing and shipping enterprises and coastal communities.

“Derelict fishing gear and other marine debris can negatively affect fishing communities and the natural resources they depend on,” said Courtney McGeachy, coordinator for NFWF’s Marine and Coastal Conservation Programs. “The Fishing for Energy partnership takes pride in being able to provide on-the-ground support for these coastal communities of New Jersey.”

Since launching in 2008, Fishing for Energy has processed more than three million pounds of old fishing gear, a portion of which has been retrieved directly from the ocean by fishermen. Fishing for Energy is a recipient of the prestigious Coastal America Partnership Award, which is presented to groups that restore and protect coastal ecosystems through collaborative action and partnership. The partnership has expanded to include a grant program that directly supports efforts to remove derelict fishing gear from U.S. coastal waters and will continue to partner with new ports to promote retired or derelict fishing gear collection through community education and outreach. For more information on the partnership visit: www.nfwf.org/fishingforenergy.

Project Partners

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation’s wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.9 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. The NOAA Marine Debris Program supports community-based removal projects across the country to help benefit coastal habitat, waterways and wildlife including migratory fish. To learn more about current and past projects visit the program’s Marine Debris Clearinghouse. For more information visit: www.marinedebris.noaa.gov.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) works to protect and restore rare species of wildlife in New Jersey and beyond. CWF utilizes field science, wildlife monitoring and surveys, habitat restoration, stewardship, public engagement, education, and volunteer management to ensure wildlife always has a place in New Jersey. Learn more at www.ConserveWildlifeNJ.org.

Covanta
Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. Annually, Covanta’s modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle approximately 500,000 tons of metal. Through a vast network of treatment and recycling facilities, Covanta also provides comprehensive industrial material management services to companies seeking solutions to some of today’s most complex environmental challenges. For more information, visit covanta.com.

Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.
Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of recycled metal products in the United States with operating facilities located in 24 states, Puerto Rico and Western Canada. Schnitzer 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 auto parts stores and steel manufacturing. 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 began operations in 1906 in Portland, Oregon.

New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership
The New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (NJCWRP) is an innovative public-private initiative aimed at restoring, preserving, enhancing and protecting aquatic habitats throughout New Jersey. Bringing together corporations, federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations and academia, the NJCWRP allows participants to contribute in a fundamental way to crucial projects involving New Jersey's coastal and island wetlands and aquatic habitats. 

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 Contact:

 
Rob Blumenthal (NFWF), 202-857-0166
 
Jason Rolfe (NOAA), 240-533-0442