3 Million Pounds of Abandoned Fishing Gear Safely Removed from U.S. Waterways

Washington, D.C., (April 12, 2016) — Today the Fishing for Energy partnership announced that more than 3 million pounds of old fishing gear and marine debris have been removed from United States waterways and coastlines since 2008 and converted into clean, renewable energy. Fishing for Energy, a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Covanta and Schnitzer Steel Industries, has successfully worked with local commercial fishermen and ports to collect and responsibly dispose of hundreds of abandoned fishing traps.

“Together, with the help of fishermen in over 49 communities across the nation, we are ensuring retired gear is disposed of properly and not ‘fishing’ longer than intended. Proper disposal of fishing gear can help minimize impacts that lost or abandoned nets, lines and traps can have on our natural resources and our economy," said Nancy Wallace, director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

“Fishermen and local community groups are essential to our success,” said Margretta Morris, Covanta’s vice president of materials management and community affairs. “With their active participation, we are able to recycle valuable metals and recover energy from the remaining material at a Covanta Energy-from-Waste facility. Since 2008, we have been able to generate enough electricity from derelict gear and marine debris to power 2,200 homes for one month.”

Successful pilot ports such as Wellfleet, MA have collected over 367,000 pounds of derelict fishing gear since the beginning of the partnership. Other high-volume ports include Newport, OR (352,480 pounds), New Bedford, MA (285,000 pounds) and Point Judith, RI (242,000 pounds.).

“Each participating port has helped us to reach this milestone by promoting this free program to their fishermen,” said Michelle Pico, NFWF’s program director for marine conservation. “Together, we have created a win-win-win solution for the environment, community and local economy.”

About 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.

About 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, within the Office of Response & Restoration, leads national and international efforts to research, prevent, and reduce the impacts of marine debris.  To learn more about current and past projects visit the program’s Marine Debris Clearinghouse. For more information visit: www.marinedebris.noaa.gov.

About 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.

About 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 4,500 organizations and committed more than $3.5 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.