The Heap
Tackling Fishing Waste

Tackling Fishing Waste

ffelogo.jpgIt may seem the primary waste product produced by fishermen is the time wasted listening to their most recent tale of the one that got away. But discarded fishing gear is a serious environmental problem, as line, hooks, nets, weights, lures and other tackle can pose a serious risk to wildlife if not properly disposed. The term “ghost fishing” refers to wildlife killed when it is caught in this derelict gear.

In 2008, Covanta Energy, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, and Schnitzer Steel Industries formed Fishing for Energy to make it cheaper and easier for professional fishermen to properly dispose of their gear. Under the program, unwanted gear is collected in busy ports (most recently, collection stations were installed in Port of Astoria, Ore.) and stripped of metals by Schnitzer Steel for recycling. Covanta uses the remaining material in its waste-to-energy plants.

So now, instead of old salts swapping big fish stories, they’ll be boasting about the amount of waste they've diverted.