NFWF announces $1.5 million in grants to reduce derelict fishing gear along U.S. coastlines

Removal efforts to focus on Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Puerto Rico and Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 06, 2018) –The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced seven grants totaling $1.5 million to reduce derelict fishing gear – lost, abandoned or discarded in the marine environment – in targeted areas in U.S. coastal waters. 

The projects supported by the seven grants announced today will support the removal and disposal of an estimated 170,000 pounds of derelict gear from the coastal waters of Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Puerto Rico and Washington – including two National Marine Sanctuaries. 

The grants were awarded through the Fishing for Energy​ program, a partnership between NFWF, Covanta and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program (NOAA). Additional funding was provided through community service funds arising from a federal environmental prosecution. 

“Removing derelict gear from the oceans will reduce bycatch of threatened marine mammals and sea turtles, save fishermen time and money, and make U.S. waterways safer to navigate,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The Fishing for Energy program is an excellent example of public and private partners working together toward a national conservation goal.” 

Funding will also allow for research in new technologies to reduce the harm from gear when lost or discarded at sea and to specifically support management efforts to remove gear from critical habitat for endangered species such as the northern right whale and green sea turtle. 

“Since 2008, Covanta and our Fishing for Energy partners have helped collect more than 3.5 million pounds of derelict fishing gear and marine debris, and used it to generate clean energy for thousands of homes and businesses across the country,” said Paul Gilman, chief sustainability officer at Covanta. “The grant program takes it one step further by supporting the great work of organizations that are working to reduce this constant threat to the marine environment and ensure our waterways remain healthy and clean.” 

“We are pleased to support this public-private partnership that works to remove and properly dispose of derelict fishing gear,” said Mark Dix, acting director for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. “Once lost, fishing nets, lines and traps can entangle wildlife, create major hazards to navigation and damage sensitive and important habitats. These projects will remove and prevent the continued impacts of fishing gear to our natural resources and economy.”

Fishing for Energy launched in 2008 through a partnership among Covanta, NOAA, Schnitzer Steel Industries and NFWF. Its goals are 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. A complete list of the 2018 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 4,500 organizations and committed more than $4.8 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org​.

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, Instagram and our other social media channels.

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 550,000 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 www.covanta.com.

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 Contact:

 

Rob Blumenthal, 202-857-0166