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 September 15, 2015 - 10:22 AM EDT
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NFWF Announces $263,000 in Grants to Support Marine Debris Prevention in U.S. Coastlines

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the fifth round of grant awards from the Fishing for Energy Partnership, which helps commercial and recreational fishermen and boaters reduce the amount of fishing gear lost in the marine environment.

The four grants for 2015 total more than $263,000 and will be matched by nearly $160,000 in additional support from the grantees. NFWF's Fishing for Energy Partnership is supported by Covanta, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program.

"With this fifth round of grants from the Fishing for Energy Partnership, we continue to invest in innovative strategies that help coastal communities minimize the negative effects of lost fishing gear through important research and educational opportunities," said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF.

"These projects further the Fishing for Energy Partnership's mission to reduce the adverse economic and environmental impacts of derelict fishing gear." said Nancy Wallace, Division Chief of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. "We are excited to support these projects, and look forward to sharing the results with our partners."

"The world's oceans and waterways are in danger from derelict fishing gear and marine debris," said Margretta Morris, Covanta Vice President of Materials Management and Community Affairs. "Covanta and our partners have worked with ports and grantees across the country to collect dangerous gear and debris – over two million pounds since 2008. We are proud to continue to expand our focus and resources on education and research programs to raise awareness and learn more about this growing environmental problem."

The Fishing for Energy Partnership, launched in 2008, reduces the amount of abandoned fishing gear that accumulates in U.S. coastal waters by offering commercial fishermen a no-cost opportunity to dispose of old, lost or unusable fishing gear at designated locations throughout the country. Collected gear and debris is recycled and processed to generate electricity at Covanta Energy-from-Waste facilities. The partnership also awards grants that prevent gear loss, minimize the impact of lost gear, and remove derelict gear from the ocean.

Lost nets and other heavy fishing equipment can damage ecosystems as they are moved by tides and waves along the sea floor. Derelict gear also continues to catch fish and other marine species in a destructive phenomenon known as "ghost fishing." Lost fishing gear also can impact navigational safety, damage active fishing equipment and boats, and cause economic repercussions for coastal industries and communities across the country.

The 2015 Fishing for Energy Partnership grants include:

Engaging Recreational Boaters in the Prevention of Commercial Fixed Gear Debris
The Boat U.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water
Fishing for Energy Grant: $105,699 | Grantee Contributions: $140,580
Educate recreational boaters nationwide about specific means of preventing boat entanglement with fixed fishing gear and provide best practices to explain how to responsibly respond when entanglements do occur. Project will explore the user conflict between recreational boaters and fishermen and develop effective practices and messages to enhance debris prevention efforts through formal and informal boater education.

Reducing Derelict Crab Trap Generation in South Carolina through Engagement of Recreational Boaters and Commercial Crabbers
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Fishing for Energy Grant: $49,324 | Grantee Contributions: $19,241
Characterize crab trap float losses in South Carolina as a result of vessel strikes and engineer solutions to reduce the rate of annual derelict fishing gear accrual. Project will engage both recreational boaters and commercial crabbers to reduce the probability of severing crab trap floats when a boat collision cannot be avoided.

Reducing Derelict Gear through Educational Tools for Recreational Pot Fishermen in New England
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
Fishing for Energy Grant: $41,344 | Grantee Contributions: $3,663
Create a series of educational videos for recreational pot fishermen in New England. Project will demonstrate Best Management Practices for recreational fishermen and provide the education tools needed to reduce the incidence of derelict fishing gear.

Development of Side‐scan Sonar Methodology to Survey Derelict Lobster Pots in Sandy and Rocky Habitats in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
Fishing for Energy Grant: $66,722 | Grantee Contributions: $10,672
Estimate derelict lobster pot density in Western Cape Cod Bay, Mass., using a full coverage side-scan sonar pilot survey. Project will develop a derelict lobster pot detection rate by using side-scan sonar on a known number of pots over both featureless and complex habitats.

About NFWF

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 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.9 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at

About 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, leads national and international efforts to research, prevent, and reduce the impacts of marine debris. The program also spearheads national research efforts and works to change behavior through outreach and education initiatives. NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration 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:

About Covanta

Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. The Company's 45 Energy-from-Waste facilities provide communities and businesses around the world with environmentally sound solid waste disposal by using 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 clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle approximately 500,000 tons of metal. Energy-from-Waste facilities reduce greenhouse gases, complement recycling and are a critical component to sustainable solid waste management. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Rob Blumenthal,, 202-857-0166

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Source: GlobeNewswire (September 15, 2015 - 10:22 AM EDT)

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