Old crab traps near Everglades City, Florida, were recently collected to be recycled and turned into renewable energy. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Fishing For Energy partnered together to gather the derelict stone crab traps.
The gear was then brought to the Lee County Solid Waste Resource Recovery Facility, operated by Covanta Energy, to be recycled and converted into renewable energy. Each year, Covanta’s energy-from-waste facilities converts approximately 20 million tons of waste into 9 million megawatt (MW) hours of renewable electricity.
Derelict fishing gear can threaten marine life in a number ways, from damaging ecosystems, to impacting navigational safety, to interfering with active fishing equipment and damaging boat propellers. Fishing for Energy was created to reduce the negative impacts old, derelict or neglected fishing gear can cause. Since launching in 2008, the partnership has reeled in approximately 1.2 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 Coastal America Partnership Award, which is presented to groups that restore and protect coastal ecosystems through collaborative action and partnership. The partnership also includes a grant program which supports efforts to remove derelict fishing gear from U.S. coastal waters.