PR Newswire

Fishing for Energy Collects One Million Pounds of Old Fishing Gear and Marine Debris

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Source: PR Newswire

World Ocean's Day marks important progress made by the partnership in recycling and disposing of old gear and marine debris

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2011 /PR Newswire/ -- Fishing for Energy, the unique partnership providing fishermen with a cost-free solution for recycling and recovering energy from old fishing gear, is commemorating World Ocean's Day this year with the achievement of a significant milestone - collecting one million pounds of old fishing gear and marine debris since the program's inception in 2008.

A partnership among Covanta Energy Corporation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, and Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. set out to provide a solution to the mounting problem of disposal of used fishing gear and the mass accumulation of marine debris. Working together with local port partners, the organizations have established collections points at more than 20 commercial fishing ports across the United States, significantly reducing the financial burden placed on commercial fishermen as they routinely dispose of retired fishing gear and providing a place to discard retrieved marine debris.

The collections help to prevent gear from becoming derelict and provide a place for easy disposal of gear that is retrieved from the water. Old gear and marine debris can threaten marine life, impact navigational safety, and have economic repercussions on fishing and shipping enterprises and coastal communities.

Rex McKinsey, the Provincetown, MA Harbormaster, has been part of the program since 2009. 'Joining the program was timely and all positive. It is great for the environment and if it weren't for this program, all the fishermen in Provincetown would have to pay to have the gear removed themselves due to ever-shrinking municipal budgets,' said McKinsey.

Celebrated on June 8th of each year, World Oceans' Day is coordinated by The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network to bring attention to the bountiful wonders and incredible natural resources provided by our oceans. Hundreds of educational institutions, conservation organizations and thousands of individuals from countries around the world join together to honor the world's oceans and collaborate on ways in to promote ocean conservation. For more information on World Oceans' Day, including a comprehensive list of events locally and globally, please visit the website of World Oceans Day.

Finding cost-effective disposal opportunities for fishermen to dispose of old, unused and derelict fishing gear was identified as an integral component in effectively addressing the issue of marine debris in our oceans at the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference held in Honolulu, HI this past March. In addition to helping make our waterways cleaner, Fishing of Energy makes productive use of the collected gear and marine debris. One million tons of gear collected from commercial fishing ports and retrieved from coastal waterways have been stripped of metals for recycling with the help of Schnitzer Steel and processed into clean, renewable energy at a Covanta Energy-from-Waste facility. Each ton of gear processed at a Covanta facility produces enough electricity to power one home for 25-days.

In 2010, the partnership expanded beyond its gear collection efforts launching the Fishing for Energy grant program. The program provides grant funding to groups that commit to removing derelict fishing gear from U.S. coastal waters. A 2010 recipient of a grant from Fishing for Energy is the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, NY. The Cornell Cooperative has put its funding to good use since receiving it last fall, collecting more than 25 tons of old, derelict lobster traps and gear from the Long Island Sound.

Fishing for Energy thrives due to exemplary cooperation between government, private, public and local organizations. The diversity and unparalleled expertise of the partners results in a unique, community-focused program that addresses a critical marine environmental issue, reduces costs for small commercial fishing businesses, recycles metal and recovers energy from the remaining material. For more information on the partnership visit: www.nfwf.org/fishingforenergy.

About Covanta

Covanta Energy is an internationally recognized owner and operator of large-scale Energy-from-Waste and renewable energy projects and a recipient of the Energy Innovator Award from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Covanta's 44 Energy-from-Waste facilities provide communities with an environmentally sound solution to their solid waste disposal needs by using that municipal solid waste to generate clean, renewable energy. Annually, Covanta's modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely and securely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste into 9 million megawatt hours of clean renewable electricity and more than 9 billion pounds of steam that are sold to a variety of industries. For more information, visit www.covantaenergy.com.

About National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

A nonprofit established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation sustains, restores and enhances the Nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats.  Through leadership conservation investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum conservation impact by developing and applying best practices and innovative methods for measurable outcomes.  Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded nearly 9,500 grants to over 3,000 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged – with its partners – more than $400 million in federal funds into more than $1.3 billion for on-the-ground conservation.  For more information, visit www.nfwf.org.

About National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program, housed within the Office of Response & Restoration, coordinates, strengthens, and increases the visibility of marine debris issues and efforts within the agency, its partners, and the public.  The program supports activities at both a national and international level focused on identifying, reducing and preventing debris from entering the marine environment.  NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) protects coastal and marine resources, mitigates threats, reduces harm, and restores ecological function. The Office provides comprehensive solutions to environmental hazards caused by oil, chemicals, and marine debris.  For more information, visit: www.noaa.gov.

About Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.

Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of recycled ferrous metal products in the United States. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Schnitzer Steel operates 42 facilities in 13 states, including seven export facilities on both the East and West coasts, as well as in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The company's vertically integrated operating platform also includes its auto parts and steel manufacturing businesses. The auto parts business sells used auto parts through its 38 self-service facilities and 18 full-service facilities located in 16 states and western Canada.  With an annual production capacity of nearly 800,000 tons, Schnitzer's steel manufacturing business produces finished steel products, including rebar, wire rod and other specialty products. Schnitzer Steel Industries commenced its 103rd year of operations in 2009.

SOURCE Fishing for Energy

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