Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The "Fishing for Energy Partnership." Removing Marine and Coastal Debris!

Now here is a great idea for reducing marine debris caused by the fishing industry!

Basically here is what's going down ...
"Moss Landing Harbor will be the first harbor in California to join the Fishing for Energy initiative on December 9th. A day-long collection will be held, providing commercial fishermen a cost-free way to recycle old and unusable fishing gear. Gear collected at the harbor will be stripped of metals for recycling at Schnitzer Steel and processed into clean, renewable energy at the Covanta Stanislaus Energy-from-Waste facility in Crows Landing, CA."
We have talked about this issue in the past and several of my students in the "Coastal and Ocean Debris Science" seminar have suggested that we need to initiate major land-based recycling and disposal facilities and programs fora variety of products that now contribute to marine flotsam and coastal debris. Well, this project is a great example of how you can build coalitions for win-win projects to accomplish this!

"Fishing for Energy is a partnership between Covanta Energy (Covanta), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, and Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. It was established in 2008 to reduce the financial burden imposed on commercial fishermen when disposing of old, derelict (gear that is lost in the marine environment), or unusable fishing gear and thereby reduce the amount of gear that may inadvertently end up in U.S. coastal waters."

You can find out more from a solid article in PR Newswire.

The other good web site to visit for much more information is at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Marine and coastal debris and flotsam is rising as perhaps the number one issue (after climate change) of concern to Coastal Zone Managers and students of coastal and marine issues. It is an alarming problem and yet one that lends itself for public support because garbage (which this is to a large extent) is something everyone understands! Also, as this program proves, private business is interested and willing to participate more and more in these types of initiatives because it is great PR, good "green" behavior, and gives excellent community and media good-will to corporations. Once they are on board it also becomes easier to pressure governments and leaders to support debris and flotsam projects because now the pressure is no longer coming from "tree kissers" but also from solid corporate supporters! (No disrespect to my fellow tree kissers, we started making the public and politicians aware of the dangers of pollution and marine/coastal debris!)

I have made this point several times and this news is just proof of the fact that I was right.

So going forward lets keep working on debris projects, learning from smart campaigns and coalitions such as this one.

Steffen Schmidt, PhD.
Professor of Coastal Zone Management and Policy



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