Lost or abandoned fishing gear can damage marine habitats, create hazards to navigation, entangle marine animals, and continue to catch harvestable species – a phenomenon known as “ghost fishing.” To prevent fishing gear from becoming marine debris, the Fishing for Energy program – a partnership between the Marine Debris Program, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Covanta, and Schnitzer Steel –places fishing gear collection bins at local ports, providing fishermen with a no-cost opportunity to dispose of derelict and retired gear.
To date, the Fishing for Energy program has placed gear collection bins at 48 ports in 10 states and has collected over three million pounds of fishing gear! Once the gear is collected, Schnitzer Steel sorts out recyclable metals and the remaining non-recyclable materials are converted to energy at Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facilities.
Earlier today, the Fishing for Energy partners held an event in Westport, Washington to launch a new collection bin at the Port of Grays Harbor— the first bin in Washington State! The bin will not only collect gear from local port users, but also derelict crab pots collected by The Nature Conservancy and its partners – the Quinault Indian Nation and the Quileute Indian Tribe – as part of two NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Removal Grants.
Representative Derek Kilmer joined the media and interested local residents to learn first-hand about the new collection bin and the derelict crab pot removal projects. Events like these are a great opportunity to raise awareness about marine debris and educate communities about local solutions.