Venice North Jetty Clean Up Success

VENICE, FL August 12, 2017 -  ReelCycle partnered with Sarasota Bay Watch and the SunCoast Reef Rovers for the annual underwater clean-up of the Venice North Jetty, a popular fishing spot. A combination of 19 SCUBA divers, 19 ‘topsider’ helpers, one kayaker, one snorkeler, and one Sarasota County Sheriffs police boat worked for a few hours to rid the underwater habitat of abandoned fishing gear. 

Sarasota Bay Watch has been partnering with the Reef Rovers to help gather volunteers, sort debris, and gather data.  The EPA donated sturdy dive bags and Reelcycle partnered to ensure best practices are in place for gear disposal.  NAUI Green Diver Initiative also participated.

The Venice North Jetty was cleared of:  81 pounds of fishing nets, 82 pounds of lead (removed from the nets),2 43 pounds of abandoned traps, 108 pounds of fishing line, 72 pounds of rope, 55 lures, 6 fishing poles, and 50 pounds of recycling.

Once fishing gear is lost it snags other fishing line, forming an underwater tangle that moves with the waves, ripping out vegetation and entrapping animals.  The annually cleaning help to maintain a balance that ensures a sustainable healthy fish population.   

The Venice Fishing Pier is Spotless - Reef Rovers Keeping It Clean

VENICE, FL July 15, 2017 -  The entire Gulf beach under the Venice Fishing Pier is clean thanks to the work of the Suncoast Reef Rovers of Venice and their many friends. A team of divers and helpers descended on Brohard Beach on Saturday July 15, 2017 to remove underwater debris from a spot that is very popular with families, fishers and beach lovers. ReelCycle assisted in the disposal of the gear collected.

Thank you to the many groups who helped including Florida Underwater Sports, Sarasota Bay Watch, Venice Police, Venice Police Citizen Volunteers, Sharky’s Restaurant, the City of Venice and NAUI Green Diver.


New Pass Fishing Pier Underwater Cleanup is a Big Success

SARASOTA, FL June 3, 2017 -  ReelCycle assisted the Sarasota Bay Watch sponsored cleanup at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota and pulled a surprising amount of debris up from the bottom of New Pass.  By far the most abundant waste was cast nets coming in at a total of 47!  The City of Sarasota Police Dive Team was an especially valuable partner because they not only provided expert SCUBA divers but also patrolled the area in their boats and kept the divers safe from passing boats.  Other partners included the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Marina Jacks, NAUI Green Diver, Scuba Quest dive shop, the City of Sarasota Sustainability Program, and Aqua Lung.

In about two hours, 35 scuba divers scoured a 500-foot long area of the bay bottom near the seawall.  The found trash and brought it to the surface where they handed it off to people in kayaks, canoes or jet skis.  The 8 paddlers brought it to shore where a group of 24 “topsiders” diligently returned any tangled up living things back to the water.  Some of the sea life they rescued were brittle stars, sea squirts, crabs, shrimp, coral, fish and even an octopus.  Next, the waste was cut up, measured and weighed.  Plastic fishing line was picked up by Reelcycle, a nonprofit leader in managing fishing tackle disposal.  The data from these cleanups is shared with NOAA and other leaders in the marine debris issue. 

Another Great American Cleanup in the books...Picnic Island Park style

TAMPA, FL - April 22, 2017 - Thank you for all the volunteers and partners for assisting ReelCycle's efforts to participate in the The Great American Cleanup at Picnic Island Park and celebrate Earth Day.  With over 30 volunteers, we were able to collect hundreds of pounds of marine debris along the shores of Picnic Island Park and and assist our partner Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.

ReelCycle assists in Tony Saprito Fishing Pier Cleanup

SARASOTA, November 19, 2016 -  Sarasota Bay Watch and partners conducted an underwater cleanup at the Tony Saprito Pier in Sarasota. Participation swelled to over 60 volunteers as vacationers, fishermen from the Tony Saprito Pier and passerbys joined the effort.

Seven hundred and fifty pounds of debris was collected including fishing line, fishing poles, tires, crab traps, a laptop computer, three cell phones, street signs, anchors and cast nets. Participants also found a variety of marine life including three octopi, brittle stars, puffers, sea urchins, green muscles, and stone crabs.

In total over 750 pounds of debris was collected and brought back to a staging area under the Ringling Bridge. Twenty-five pounds of fishing line, 205 pounds of lead and 141 pounds of nets were separated, weighed and measured. The information gathered is shared with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine and Debris Program and the Ocean Conservancy.

ReelCycle was able to dispose of most of the debris, including the nets, in their Fishing for Energy Program (FEP). The FEP is a partnership of NOAA, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Covanta Energy, and Schnitzer Steel. The FEP has sites in 10 states and 48 ports and has collected over three million pounds of discarded fishing gear.

Partners included local volunteers, the Sarasota Police Department Underwater Search and Rescue Dive Team, SRQ Fire Department, city of Sarasota Sustainability Program, the Suncoast Reef Rovers, Aqua-Ventures Dive Team, the New College Bull Sharks Dive Team and a group of citizen divers organized by Al Jefferies of Scuba Quest.

The divers were assisted by volunteers in kayaks and police and fire department boats who transported the debris they collected to the staging area. Volunteers also were stationed on the pier, where they helped divers, collected discarded line and other debris. Many of those assisting the effort were high school students who received volunteer hours for their participation. One of the most rewarding moments of the cleanup was watching children as they released marine life from nets, fishing line and other debris.

The amount of debris collected during the cleanup was sobering when you consider the total amount that is hidden from view. Fortunately, this kind of cleanup is becoming more popular, relieving the environment of tons of discarded and lost gear. The debris scars marine habitat and entraps and entangles marine life.

3rd Florida Marine Debris Reduction Plan Meeting

St Petersburg, FL - May 20, 2016 - ReelCycle recently participated in the 3rd Florida Marine Debris Reduction Plan Meeting, a three-day workshop led by the NOAA Marine Debris Program bringing together Florida's marine debris community to share updates on accomplishments and to continue development of a statewide marine debris reduction plan.

Marine debris leaders within the state gathered to share information on existing projects and then begin developing a state-wide plan to address marine debris. Representatives from state agencies (Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), various NGO’s (e.g. ReelCycle, Sarasota Bay Watch, and the National Audubon Society), universities, and other NOAA offices as well participated in the meeting and plan development.

This highly specialized group of marine debris experts broke into working groups focused on derelict fishing gear, abandoned and derelict vessels, wildlife and habitat impacts, consumer debris, and emergency response.  By the end of the meeting, the working groups had prioritized goals and created synergies between the groups, especially in terms of outreach, education, and messaging objectives.


ReelCycle joins Global Partnership on Marine Litter

ReelCycle is pleased to join the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML).  The GPML is a partnership for international agencies, governments, businesses, academia, local authorities, nongovernmental organizations and individuals and seeks to protect human health and the global environment by the reduction and management of marine litter as its main goal, through several specific objectives. 

  • To reduce the impacts of marine litter worldwide on economies, ecosystems, animal welfare and human health.
  • To enhance international cooperation and coordination through the promotion and implementation of the Honolulu Strategy - a global framework for the prevention and management of marine debris, as well as the Honolulu Commitment – a multi-stakeholder pledge.
  • To promote knowledge management, information sharing and monitoring of progress on the implementation of the Honolulu Strategy.
  • To promote resource efficiency and economic development through waste prevention (e.g. 4Rs (reduce, re-use, recycle and re-design) and by recovering valuable material and/or energy from waste.
  • Increase awareness on sources of marine litter, their fate and impacts.
  • To assess emerging issues related to the fate and potential influence of marine litter, including (micro) plastics uptake in the food web and associated transfer of pollutants and impacts on the conservation and welfare on marine fauna

The GPML was launched during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio + 20 in June 2012.  It builds on the Honolulu Strategy, a global framework for tackling marine litter, which was presented at the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference held in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2011.  The United Nations Environment Programme provides the Secretariat for the GPML in line with the mandate received in the ‘Manila Declaration on Furthering the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities’.



Old Fishing Gear and Marine debris Processed to Produce Energy at Pinellas County Energy-from-Waste Facility

St. Petersburg, FL – March 16, 2016 – More than one and a half tons of old fishing gear and marine debris were removed from Florida’s waterways and coastline during the past several months and converted into clean, renewable energy at the Pinellas County Resource Recovery Facility. ReelCycle, a Florida-based non-profit that develops sustainable recycling programs for fishing gear and  Fishing for Energy, a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Covanta and Schnitzer Steel Industries, joined forces to collect and responsibly dispose of hundreds of abandoned fishing traps. 

"Covanta and our partners have worked with ports across the country to collect old, derelict or unusable fishing gear and debris. This program significantly increases the likelihood that abandoned gear does not remain in the marine environment where it can cause harm to aquatic life as well as commercial fishing operations. We’re happy to partner with Pinellas County and provide an environmentally responsible option in recycling and disposing of ReelCycle’s collected gear,” said Margretta Morris, Covanta’s Vice President of Materials Management & Community Affairs.

"The Fishing for Energy bin program is an opportunity for fishermen to dispose of old fishing gear free of charge. Proper disposal of fishing gear can help minimize impacts that lost or abandoned nets, lines, and traps can have on our natural resources and our economy," said Nancy Wallace, Director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. "We are happy to see communities and groups like ReelCycle choose to utilize this unique opportunity." 

The Pinellas County Resource Recovery Facility, operated by Covanta, serves Pinellas County residents with sustainable management of municipal solid waste by using waste to generate clean, renewable energy. The facility can process up to 3,150 tons per day of solid waste and generates up to 75 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power 40,000 homes. 

Pinellas County's Solid Waste Director, Kelsi Oswald, highlighted the value of the partnership with Fishing for Energy, saying, “If the commercial fishermen bring in their unusable, derelict gear and then it’s processed here to remove the metal and capture the energy value from the rest of the old gear, that’s a great benefit to the ocean environment, the fishermen, and the community as a whole.”

ReelCycle aims to partner with non- profit organizations, businesses, trade associations, individuals and governmental organizations to facilitate prosperous and sustainable recycling programs of fishing-based gear, items, and materials.  It is estimated that there are thousands of abandoned crab traps in the Tampa Bay area that have been accumulating for decades.  The temporary crab fishery closure by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is a unique opportunity that only happens once every two years.  This closure allowed for ReelCycle and local partner, Tampa Bay Watch, to remove several hundred traps that were located in Tampa Bay waters.  

“ReelCycle is proud to partner with Covanta utilizing their Fishing for Energy partnership in properly disposing the derelict traps and providing both conservation and socioeconomic benefits to the community,” said Devin Sanderson, Founder and President of ReelCycle.

The Fishing for Energy Partnership, launched in 2008, reduces the amount of abandoned fishing gear that accumulates in U.S. coastal waters by offering commercial fishermen a no-cost opportunity to dispose of old, lost or unusable fishing gear at designated locations throughout the country. Collected gear and debris is recycled and processed to generate electricity at Covanta energy-from-waste facilities. The partnership also awards grants that prevent gear loss, minimize the impact of lost gear, and remove derelict gear from the ocean.

About ReelCycle
ReelCycle, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit,  engages in thought provoking disposal programs which offer practical, real world sustainable solutions to sport fishing anglers and commercial fisherman alike. ReelCycle aims to partner with and facilitate prosperous and sustainable recycling programs of fishing based gear, items and materials among non-profit organizations, businesses, trade associations, individuals and governmental organizations. This commitment leads to the conservation of our world's waterways.  Please visit us at

About NOAA Marine Debris Program
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, leads national and international efforts to research, prevent, and reduce the impacts of marine debris. The program also spearheads national research efforts and works to change behavior through outreach and education initiatives. For more information, visit:

About NFWF
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation’s wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $3.5 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at

About Covanta
Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. Annually, Covanta’s modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle approximately 500,000 tons of metal. Through a vast network of treatment and recycling facilities, Covanta also provides comprehensive industrial material management services to companies seeking solutions to some of today’s most complex environmental challenges. For more information, visit