NFWF Announces $412,000 in Grants to Prevent Derelict Fishing Gear from Harming U.S. Coastlines

Grants from the Fishing for Energy program will support efforts to collect derelict fishing gear to protect and restore the quality of marine and coastal habitats

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 19, 2021) — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced eight grants totaling $412,000 to prevent the accumulation of derelict fishing gear—lost, abandoned or discarded in the marine environment—in port communities in U.S. coastal waters.

The eight grants announced today will provide no-cost opportunities for fishing communities to collect and properly dispose of unused fishing gear and build capacity for future gear-collection projects. It is anticipated that these grants will prevent more than 845,000 pounds of fishing gear from potentially entering the coastal waters of California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey and Oregon.

The grants were awarded through the Fishing for Energy program, a partnership between NFWF, Covanta, Schnitzer Steel Industries and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program. The Fishing for Energy partnership provides commercial fishers with no-cost solutions to dispose of derelict and retired fishing gear and offers competitive grants to reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear on the environment. By helping prevent and remove derelict gear, the Fishing for Energy program restores the quality of marine and coastal habitats, while supporting the communities and industries that rely on these resources.

“By engaging local communities and fishers in the prevention of derelict fishing gear and the harm it can cause, Fishing for Energy supports healthy and functioning marine ecosystems,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. 

For the first time this year, the Fishing for Energy program included a priority to support the capacity and logistics development needs of applicants to prepare them to host bins for gear collection, recycling, upcycling and/or energy conversion in the future.

“Prevention is the ultimate solution to reducing the harmful impacts of derelict fishing gear in the environment,” said Nancy Wallace, director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. “We are pleased to provide this support to community partners as we work to protect our coasts, ocean and Great Lakes.”

Fishing for Energy aims to provide a cost-free solution to fishermen to dispose of old, derelict or unusable gear and to reduce the amount of this material in and around our coastal waterways. 

“We’re honored to support these new series of grants that will provide essential support to fishing and port communities from coast to coast,” said Kenneth Armellino, Covanta’s director of environmental science and community affairs. “The program is a novel solution to ensuring that old and lost fishing gear is disposed of properly, while also sustainably managing the waste for use as energy that powers homes and businesses.” 

“Schnitzer is proud to continue our partnership with NFWF and support the Fishing for Energy program,” said Colin Kelly, vice president of public affairs at Schnitzer Steel. “For more than 10 years Schnitzer operations have processed this discarded fishing gear to facilitate responsible disposal and recycling. By supporting the fishing community and working to keep our waterways clean, we strengthen our commitment to the environment—on both land and sea.”

A complete list of the 2021 grants made through the Fishing for Energy program is available here.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 5,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $6.8 billion. Learn more at

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. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and our other social media channels. Visit our news and features page.

About Covanta
Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. Annually, Covanta’s modern Waste-to-Energy (“WtE”) facilities safely convert approximately 21 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses into renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle 600,000 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

About Schnitzer Steel
Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of recycled metal products in North America with operating facilities located in 23 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 50 stores which sell serviceable used auto parts from salvaged vehicles and receive approximately 5 million annual retail visits. The Company’s steel manufacturing operations produce finished steel products, including rebar, wire rod and other specialty products. The Company began operations in 1906 in Portland, Oregon.



Rob Blumenthal, 202-857-0166,