The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced ten grants totaling $1,157,788 to reduce derelict fishing gear – lost, abandoned or discarded in the marine environment – in targeted U.S. coastal waters.
The ten grants will support the removal and disposal of an estimated 330,000 pounds of derelict gear from the coastal waters of California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington – including two National Marine Sanctuaries. The grants were awarded through the Fishing for Energy program, a partnership between NFWF, Covanta and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program.
“Because of the material that fishing gear is made of, finding ways to reduce and remove derelict fishing gear from our oceans is important for a healthy marine habitat,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Once gear becomes lost in the environment, it can persist for years, continuing to harm marine species.”
The grants also will support research into new technologies to reduce the harm from gear when lost or discarded at sea, as well as management efforts to remove gear from critical habitat for endangered species such as the northern right whale.
“Once lost, fishing nets, lines and traps can threaten wildlife, damage sensitive habitats, and create major hazards to navigation,” said Nancy Wallace, director for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. “These projects will support the development of new technologies to reduce entanglement and speed the removal of derelict fishing gear to benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and wildlife.”
“Fishing for Energy provides an invaluable service and these grants help to further our program’s mission of supporting the fishing community and protecting the marine environment,” said Kenneth Armellino, Covanta’s director of environmental science and community affairs. “Since the program’s launch, we have generated enough renewable energy from discarded fishing gear to power 44,000 homes for a full year at our Energy-from-Waste facilities. Covanta is proud to lend a hand to this important work.”
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 2019 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 $5.3 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
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. The NOAA Marine Debris Program, within the Office of Response & Restoration, is the federal lead on marine debris. For more information visit: www.marinedebris.noaa.gov.