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Marine Debris Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Fishing for Energy Partnership

DECEMBER 7, 2018 — During the week of November 26, the Marine Debris Program celebrated ten exciting years working with Fishing for Energy partners to divert derelict fishing year.

Debris and large collection bin.
Collection bins like this one help to keep nets out of the ocean. Image credit: NFWF.

This public-private partnership is a collaboration between NOAA, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Covanta, and Schnitzer Steel Industries to prevent and reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear on the marine environment. Modeled after Hawaii’s Nets to Energy program, the partnership installs collection bins that provide the fishing community with a no-cost option for disposing of old or unwanted gear. The old nets, line, and ropes are then converted into energy.

Over the last 10 years, the Fishing for Energy partnership has grown to provide removal services at 55 ports in 12 states, collecting nearly 4 million pounds of fishing gear. Gear collected at these ports is first sorted at Schnitzer Steel Industries for metals recycling, and the remaining non-recyclable plastic material is processed and converted into energy at Covanta Energy locations.

Derelict gear - such as nets, traps, and lines - can pose a serious threat to wildlife, habitats, and people. When left in the marine environment, it continues to trap, entangle, and potentially kill marine life, smother fragile habitats like coral reefs and seagrass beds, and act as a hazard to navigation for fishing and recreational vessels. The Fishing for Energy partnership strives to reduce this threat while also keeping gear out of the landfills. The Marine Debris Program is proud of this collaboration and looks forward to its continued success in 2019!

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Last updated Thursday, February 27, 2020 2:43pm PST