Fishing boats in Maine

NFWF Announces More Than $120,000 in Grants to Collect and Dispose of Derelict Fishing Gear Along U.S. Coastlines

Fishing boats in Maine

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 13, 2020) — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced 14 grants totaling $121,700 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 14 grants will provide a free opportunity for fishing communities to collect old or unused fishing gear and properly dispose of the materials through installing disposal bins at ports. It is anticipated that these grants will prevent more than 200,000 pounds of fishing gear from potentially entering the coastal waters of Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Washington.

The grants were awarded through the Fishing for Energy Bin Program, a partnership between NFWF, Covanta, Schnitzer Steel Industries and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program. Fishing for Energy aims to provide a cost-free solution to fishermen to dispose of old, derelict or unusable fishing gear and to reduce the amount of derelict fishing gear in and around our coastal waterways. 

“Preventing fishing gear from entering the marine environment is a proven method of reducing harm to a huge variety of marine species that could otherwise become captured or entangled,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The Fishing for Energy Bin Program provides a great opportunity for commercial fishing communities to be a part of this effort to reduce harm to marine species.” 

This year marks the inaugural round of grants made through the Fishing for Energy Bin Program. The grants were awarded to port communities to engage in collecting commercial fishing gear, and recycle or convert that gear to energy. Established in 2008, the program has grown beyond the initial model and has implemented a new administrative structure that provides greater flexibility for ports to participate, and expanded the recyclers and waste-to-energy facilities which with ports can partner.

“The NOAA Marine Debris Program is pleased to support this partnership with NFWF, Covanta, and Schnitzer Steel Industries to help keep fishing gear out of our ocean,” said Nancy Wallace, director of the Marine Debris Program. “Investments like these in protecting wildlife and critical habitat reap vast returns for our economy and environment.” 

“Covanta is proud to help communities across the nation with a convenient and sustainable service that helps rid our waterways of derelict fishing gear and marine debris,” said Kenneth Armellino, Covanta’s director of environmental science and community affairs. “Together with our partners, we’ve been able to recycle metals and recover energy from material that would have otherwise been a detriment to our environment.”

“Schnitzer is very excited to continue our partnership in the Fishing for Energy Program,” said Colin Kelly, director of public affairs at Schnitzer Steel. “This innovative project continues to prove its success in engaging local fisherman in the removal of derelict fishing gear and reducing the impact to the marine industry.” 

A complete list of the 2020 grants made through the Fishing for Energy Bin 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 $6.1 billion. Learn more at

About NOAA
NOAA is celebrating 50 years of science, service and stewardship in fulfilling a mission 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, Instagram 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 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

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.


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