BELFORD, N.J., Aug. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The New Jersey Seafood Cooperative of Belford is the latest addition to the Fishing for Energy initiative, the program providing commercial fishermen a cost-free way to recycle old and unusable fishing gear. Gear, such as rope and fishing nets collected at the Co-op will be processed into clean, renewable energy at the Covanta Union Energy-from-Waste facility in Rahway, NJ.
Fishing for Energy is a partnership between the Morristown, NJ-based Covanta Energy (Covanta), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, and Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. It was established in 2008 to reduce the financial burden imposed on commercial fishermen when disposing of old, derelict (gear that is lost in the marine environment), or unusable fishing gear and thereby reduce the amount of gear that ends up in U.S. coastal waters. Metal items are recycled at Schnitzer Steel Industry facilities and the remaining material is converted into renewable energy at Covanta Energy-from-Waste facilities.
At a ceremony held this morning at the Belford Seafood Cooperative, the partnership installed a collection bin for old, abandoned or lost fishing gear from area commercial fishermen.
Speaking on behalf of the partnership, Nancy Wallace, Director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program said, "We are so pleased to be able to continue the expansion of the Fishing for Energy program by adding a new port in New Jersey. This is a great opportunity for local fishermen to dispose of unused gear free of charge, thereby helping to protect the marine environment that is so important to their livelihoods and create clean, renewable energy."
By placing the collection bin at the Co-op, it makes it easy for fishermen to participate, significantly increasing the likelihood that derelict gear does not end up in the marine environment. Abandoned or lost fishing equipment can threaten marine life in a number of ways; by damaging ecosystems as nets and heavy equipment settle upon the ocean floor or through 'ghost fishing,' wherein a net continues to catch fish, even if abandoned or lost. Gear can also impact navigational safety, damage fishing equipment and boats that are in use, and have economic repercussions on fishing and shipping enterprises and coastal communities.
Fishing for Energy thrives due to extensive 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 marine environmental issue, reduces costs for small commercial fishing businesses and recycles metal and recovers energy from the remaining material.
Since launching in 2008, Fishing for Energy has reeled in more than 1.1 million pounds of old fishing gear, a portion of which has been retrieved directly from the ocean by fishermen. In 2010, Fishing for Energy was awarded the prestigious Coastal America Partnership Award, which is presented to groups that restore and protect coastal ecosystems through collaborative action and partnership. The partnership has also expanded to include a grant program that directly supports efforts to remove derelict fishing gear from U.S. coastal waters and will continue to partner with new ports to promote retired or derelict fishing gear collection through community education and outreach. For more information on the partnership visit: www.nfwf.org/fishingforenergy.
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 create more than 9 billion pounds of steam that are sold to a variety of industries. For more information, visit www.covantaholding.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.
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