Stellwagen Sweep: Sandwich Reels in Big One

May 4, 2009

More than 10,000 Pounds of Marine Debris Collected in Effort to Protect the Right Whales’ Habitat

SANDWICH, Mass., May 4 /PRNewswire/ – Stellwagen Alive announced today a record 10,000 pounds of marine debris has been netted to protect more than 70 endangered Right whales that use the waters between Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary as their spring feeding area.

As part of a two-year initiative to locate and remove marine debris harmful to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in order to restore and protect marine life, Stellwagen Sweep: Sandwich (the Sweep) has facilitated the collection of more than 10,000 lbs. of gear in the last 3 weeks. Under the supervision of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries specially prepared vessels, professional fishing captains plied the waters locating and hoisting harmful marine debris from the Right whales’ feeding areas in waters adjacent to the sanctuary. Unused fishing gear has also been turned in by the commercial fishing community at large for processing. Once collected this material is then processed into clean, renewable energy as part of Stellwagen Alive’s collaboration with the Fishing for Energy partnership.

The Fishing for Energy partnership is an initiative between Covanta Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Working together and with Stellwagen Alive, these organizations are providing a no-cost solution for fishermen to dispose of old, derelict or unusable fishing gear.

“Restoring and preserving the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is essential to our overall mission,” said Dr. Jennifer Ferre, Executive Director of Stellwagen Alive. “Stellwagen Sweep is one visible way for the public to see what can be done when a dedicated group of people take action. This effort serves a dual purpose, cleaning up the waters and providing safe, clean energy. We are fortunate to have Fishing for Energy among our partners in this effort. Today’s announcement is a significant step in the effort to remove harmful marine debris.”

Gear collected during the Sweep will be taken to the Schnitzer Steel facility in Johnston, RI, where metals will be recovered for recycling and the nets will be sheared and transported to Covanta’s SECONN Energy-from-Waste facility in Preston, CT, where it will be converted into electricity that will ultimately be used by New England families and businesses.

“Working with Stellwagen Alive on this project allows us to help support an initiative that is directly in line with Fishing for Energy priorities — cleaning up the marine environment and removing the threat that derelict fishing gear creates,” said Paul Gilman, Chief Sustainability Officer at Covanta Energy. “On behalf of the Fishing for Energy partnership, we are proud to work with Stellwagen Alive in the town of Sandwich, and look forward to collaborating on future projects.”

Additional Sweep events are planned along the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine coastline throughout 2009. The next Stellwagen Sweep will take place in Provincetown, MA. More information about the Provincetown effort will be released in the coming weeks. Please visit http://stellwagenalive.org.

About Stellwagen Alive

Stellwagen Alive is an independent 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to restore and preserve the marine environment known as Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Stellwagen Alive also acts in an advisory capacity to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary office in Scituate, MA. Stellwagen Sweep is a two year program to locate, identify and remove an estimated 100 tons of marine debris and derelict fishing gear from the waters in and around Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Fore more information, visit: http://stellwagenalive.org.

About Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Congress designated the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in 1992 as “an area of special national significance.” The sanctuary stretches between Cape Ann and Cape Cod and is home to over 575 species of marine life and is widely known as one of the richest marine habitats in the Gulf of Maine and is home to some of the largest seasonal aggregations of endangered whales along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.

About Covanta

Covanta Energy is an internationally recognized owner and operator of large-scale Energy-from-Waste and renewable energy projects and a recipient of the Energy Innovator Award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Covanta’s 38 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. For more information, visit: www.covantaenergy.com.

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, 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. For more information, visit: www.marinedebris.noaa.gov.

About Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.

Schnitzer Stell Industries, Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of recycled ferrous metal products in the United States with 41 operating facilities located in 12 states throughout the country and Puerto Rico, including seven export facilities located on both the East and West Coasts and in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The Company’s vertically integrated operating platform also includes its auto parts and steel manufacturing businesses. The Company’s auto parts business sells used auto parts through its 38 self-service facilities and 18 full-service facilities located in 16 states and in western Canada. With an annual production capacity of nearly 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 103rd year of operations in fiscal 2009. For more information, visit: www.schnitzersteel.com.

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. Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded nearly 9,500 grants to over 3,000 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged — with its partners — more than $400 million in federal funds into more than $1.3 billion for on-the-ground conservation. For more information, visit: www.nfwf.org.

SOURCE Stellwagen Alive

Source: newswire

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