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Marine Debris Program Joins National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to Announce 2019 Fishing for Energy Awardees

OCTOBER 7, 2019 — On September 25, Caitlin Wessel, NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Gulf of Mexico Regional Coordinator, joined the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in an event to announce the 2019 Fishing for Energy awardees and celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Fishing for Energy program.

Group of people posing for a photo on a dock.
NFWF partners and grant awardees at Gilchrist Park, Florida. Image credit: NFWF.

The event was held in Punta Gorda, Florida, at Gilchrist Park, and announced 10 new grantees receiving a total of $1,157,788 in funding. The projects support research into new technologies to reduce the harm from derelict fishing gear when lost or discarded at sea and the removal of derelict fishing gear from coastal waters. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), NOAA Marine Debris Program, NFWF, and Covanta participated in a press event and watched a demonstration by scuba divers from the Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda communities showcasing how to remove old gear from the Gulf of Mexico for collection. 

Lost or derelict fishing gear is one of the major types of debris impacting the marine environment. Every year, marine species become trapped or entangled in lost, abandoned and/or discarded fishing gear. This “ghost fishing” derelict gear (fishing line, nets, and pots) continues to capture fish beyond its intended use. 

Over 10 years, Fishing for Energy grant recipients have removed nearly 4 million pounds of fishing gear from waterways and ports at bins placed in 55 communities along the nation’s coasts. The 2019 Fishing for Energy grantees, including Florida DEP who received a grant to remove fishing gear from artificial reefs in Charlotte Harbor, will continue to combat ghost gear to protect wildlife and essential habitat. 

For additional information, please contact Steve.Morrison@noaa.gov.

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