Effort underway to recycle 26,000 pounds of derelict crab pots, marine debris

    Abandoned crab pots unnecessarily trap fish and harm the marine ecosystem

    Abandoned crab pots unnecessarily trap fish and harm the marine ecosystem

    An innovative partnership will result in the recycling of about 26,000 pounds of derelict crab pots and other marine debris over the next two years.

    Fishing for Energy, a public-private effort that provides commercial fishermen a no-cost solution to recycle old and unusable fishing gear, is partnering with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) to recycle the materials.

    CWF is identifying and removing nearly 1,000 derelict crab pots in the Barnegat Bay, helping the organization to understand how much gear is lost annually by recreational and commercial crab fishermen, according to a NOAA release.

    According to CWF, derelict crab pots “ghost fish,” unnecessarily trapping marine life.

    CWF is partnering with the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES), Monmouth University, Stockton University, ReClam the Bay, New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, and the recreational and commercial fishing community to identify, retrieve, and inventory derelict crab pots.

    Collection bins are situated at the ports in Waretown and Mantoloking. 

    The grant is also funding education and outreach activities on the impacts of derelict crab pots.

    “Derelict crab traps can create navigational hazards, damage habitats, and capture various marine species, including harvestable crabs, resulting in lost catch opportunities and financial losses for fishermen,” said Nancy Wallace, director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

    “We are proud to team up with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and their partners to reduce the adverse economic and environmental impacts of derelict traps in Barnegat Bay. We also applaud Covanta for its role in converting the derelict gear removed by this project into energy through the Fishing for Energy partnership,” she added. 

    Fishing for Energy will fund the transportation and disposal of the gear through Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facility in Union County, where any metal found on the debris will be recycled and the remainder of the traps converted into clean, renewable energy that will power area homes and businesses.

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