Gloucester, MA returns to the Fishing for Energy Program and Martha’s Vineyard becomes first island community to participate
Haverhill, MA, July 29, 2013 – Fishing for Energy, the innovative public-private partnership that provides commercial fishermen a cost-free way to recycle old and unusable fishing gear, is celebrating a significant milestone today with Covanta Haverhill surpassing the 300,000 pound program-to-date mark of total derelict fishing gear processed at the Energy-from-Waste facility located in northern Massachusetts. In a ceremony held this morning at Covanta Haverhill, Fishing for Energy welcomed two port partners to the program—Martha’s Vineyard and Gloucester, MA.
Fishing for Energy is a nationwide partnership between 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. The partnership offers commercial fisherman a way to dispose of old, derelict fishing gear free of charge, providing conveniently-located collection bins for disposal, making it easy for fishing communities, even remote ones like Martha’s Vineyard, to deal with the issue of derelict gear. As a result, the partnership reduces the amount of gear that ends up in U.S. coastal waters, converting it into clean, renewable energy by processing it at Covanta Energy-from-Waste facilities around the country.
The Covanta Haverhill Energy-from-Waste facility has been one of the longest participating Covanta facilities in the Fishing for Energy program, collecting gear since the partnership’s inception in 2008. Haverhill accepts gear from New England locations including Maine (Portland), New Hampshire (Rye and Hampton) and Massachusetts (Gloucester, Rockport, Boston, Newburyport and Martha’s Vineyard).
"Massachusetts is known for having one of the nation's oldest and most productive fishing industries. Derelict fishing gear is an unfortunate consequence of this productive fishery," said Representative Brian Dempsey. "The continued partnership goes a long way to ensuring the stability, maintenance and future of Massachusetts vital ocean habitat."
“Martha’s Vineyard not only has a commercial fishing fleet that brings in derelict equipment, but because we’re an island, a lot of gear ends up stockpiled on people’s property,” commented Dukes County Fishermen's Association Event Coordinator Lynne Fraker. “We received a 30-yard bin at the end of February and had it filled within a month.” Once collected, the gear was ferried to the mainland and hauled to the Covanta Haverhill facility, thanks to Fishing for Energy partner, Schnitzer Steel.
Colin Kelly, Schnitzer Steel’s manager of government and public relations, said, “Schnitzer Steel is proud to be an integral partner in Fishing for Energy. The program provides a great opportunity for local fishermen to dispose of unused gear to protect the marine environment that is so important to their livelihoods, and gets additional uses out of all the discarded materials through recycling and generating renewable energy.”
Although it was the first community to participate in the Fishing for Energy partnership when it began in 2008, Gloucester, MA, due to space limitations, does not have a permanent bin available to fishermen. Instead, when demand is high enough, Gloucester officials coordinate with Fishing for Energy partners to help manage the accumulated gear collected from local fishermen. Beth Cassoni, Associate Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, stated, “The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association is pleased to be a part of the clean up effort being put forth in Gloucester. Thank you to Arthur “Sooky” Sawyer, Vice President of the MLA, for your part in coordinating this effort.”
Abandoned or lost fishing equipment, a type of marine debris, 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 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 processed more than 2.2 million pounds of old fishing gear, a portion of which has been retrieved directly from the ocean by fishermen. Fishing for Energy is a recipient of 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 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 Corporation is an internationally recognized owner and operator of large-scale Energy-from-Waste and renewable energy projects. 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 sold to a variety of industries. For more information, visit www.covantaenergy.com.
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 on marine debris, visit: www.marinedebris.noaa.gov
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 grants to over 4,000 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged – with its partners – more than $618 million in federal funds into more than $2.1 billion for on-the-ground conservation. For more information, visit www.nfwf.org.
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 with 56 operating facilities located in 14 states, Puerto Rico and Western Canada. The business has seven deep water export facilities located on both the East and West Coasts and in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The Company's integrated operating platform also includes its auto parts and steel manufacturing businesses. The Company's auto parts business sells used auto parts through its 50 self-service facilities located in 14 states and Western Canada. With an effective annual production capacity of approximately 800,000 tons, the Company's steel manufacturing business produces finished steel products, including rebar, wire rod and other specialty products. The Company commenced its 106th year of operations in fiscal 2012. Schnitzer was named Scrap Company of the Year by American Metals Market's 2011 Awards for Steel Excellence. This award recognizes advancements rooted in pioneering and implementing business improvements that have delivered real change to the steel industry.