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.

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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’.

 

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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 www.reelcycle.org.

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: www.marinedebris.noaa.gov

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 www.nfwf.org

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 covanta.com.

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ReelCycle Announces Contract with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - to broaden the Fishing for Energy partnership in the state of Florida

St. Petersburg, Fla. (March 3, 2016) - ReelCycle, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to sustainable waste solutions in protecting our world's oceans, has contracted with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to help reduce the impact of derelict fishing gear (gear that is lost in the marine environment) on Florida marine wildlife and habitats.

Derelict fishing gear has been recognized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a major source of debris impacting the marine environment, damaging ecosystems due to nets and heavy equipment settling upon the ocean floor, as well as “ghost fishing,” when a net continues to catch fish after it is lost. Derelict fishing gear can also impact navigational safety, damage fishing equipment and boats that are in use, and have economic repercussions on fishing enterprises and coastal communities.

ReelCycle has contracted with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to expand the Fishing for Energy partnership in Florida. The Fishing for Energy program was launched in 2008 as a partnership among Covanta, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the NOAA and Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. The mission of the Fishing for Energy program is to provide a no-cost solution to fishermen to dispose of old, derelict or unusable fishing gear and to reduce the impact of derelict fishing gear on U.S. marine wildlife and habitats. The partnership works closely with state and local agencies, community groups, the fishing industry and local ports to achieve these goals and has established 44 locations in 10 states since 2008.

ReelCycle's on-the-ground effort will include establishing relationships with interested ports throughout the state and coordinating the disposal logistics of derelict fishing gear.

"We look forward to developing the Fishing for Energy partnership throughout the state of Florida and facilitate proper derelict fishing gear prevention and removal," said Devin Sanderson, President of ReelCycle. "Working with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other global organizations is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to sound and sustainable waste management practices for the fishing industry."

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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.  

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 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.9 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.

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Derelict Crab trap Removal Planned for Blue Crab Fishery Closure

Tierra Verde, FL- Tampa Bay Watch has recruited volunteer boaters to participate in a crab trap removal effort on Saturday, July 11 at six locations (Belleair Bluffs, Upper Tampa Bay, Alafia River, Cockroach Bay, Boca Ciega Bay and Demen’s Landing) throughout Tampa Bay due to the regional closure of blue crab fishing. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has mandated a temporary closure for the harvest of blue crabs from traps in all waters of Broward through Pasco counties including the waters of Tampa Bay.

FWC is requiring regional closed seasons for the blue crab fishery to help facilitate efforts to identify and retrieve lost and abandoned blue crab traps in state waters of Florida. The local closure is from July 10-19 and extends out to three miles offshore and apply to both commercial and recreational free standing traps (blue crab traps attached to private property (i.e. docks) are excluded from the closure). All commercial and recreational traps left in state waters during the ten day closure will be considered derelict and can be removed.  It is important to note that even though the fishery will be closed, not just anybody can remove a trap.  Anyone interested in being involved must be a part of an organized effort that has been authorized by FWC. Three regional, 10-day blue crab trap closures take place in designated areas in Florida in odd- numbered years, and three other closures occur in even-numbered years.

Derelict and abandoned crab traps in the waters are a problem for several reasons: they continue to ghost fish (fishing that continues despite the inactivity of the trap) killing not only the crabs but several other recreationally and commercially important species; they pose a navigational hazard to boaters; they can cause damage to valuable and sensitive habitats such as seagrass or natural hardbottom environments. Manatees, dolphins and sea turtles can also become entangled in the trap line causing injury or death.

“This event is great because it gets community volunteers involved in helping to preserve and protect the bay by removing debris and keeping marine life from needlessly getting caught and killed in abandoned traps,” said Serra Herndon, Habitat Restoration Director for Tampa Bay Watch.

It is estimated that there are thousands of derelict crab traps that have been accumulating for decades in Tampa Bay. Each year, Tampa Bay Watch performs surveys to identify derelict traps and conducts clean-ups to remove them. Having conducted 28 crab trap removals since May 2004, Tampa Bay Watch has successfully removed 1,422 traps from the waters of Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Watch will be partnering with ReelCycle for this important crab trap removal event. ReelCycle (www.reelcycle.org) is a 501(c)(3) entity that focuses on waste reduction and sound management practices for the fishing industry. Devin Sanderson, ReelCycle's Founder and President, said the following about this event: "Each year, hundreds of tons of derelict gear is discarded in landfills or illegally dumped, which can result in 'ghost fishing' or ‘ghost traps’.  Ghost traps that are lost or abandoned continue to catch crabs and fish in large numbers, threaten stocks, and damage the marine environment.  ReelCycle works to create recycling programs for undesirable gear, from collection through disposal, providing both conservation and socioeconomic benefits.  ReelCycle will take the crab traps collected during the project and deliver the traps to a metal recycling who will process and melt down the traps to ultimately reuse into a another product.  The non-metallic material collected such as stone crab traps, ropes, and floats will be incinerated and converted into energy though a waste-to-energy program. ReelCycle will be able to upcycle these traps into a renewable resource as opposed to being discarded in a landfill."


If you would like more information regarding the FWC's trap-retrieval program, blue crab trap closure dates, or regulations, that info is available online at MyFWC.com/Rules (click on "Fishing - Saltwater"). You can also contact FWC's trap-retrieval coordinator, Kyle Miller, at 850-487-0554.

This event would not be possible without the help from project partners including Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, ReelCycle, Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation, St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation, Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, Pinellas County & the City of Largo. For more information on Tampa Bay Watch’s local effort, please contact Serra Herndon at
sherndon@tampabaywatch.org or 727-867-8166 ext. 227 for more information.

Some pics from the event...almost 2 tons of derelict gear recovered and recycled utilizing the Fishing for Energy program.

Some pics from the event...almost 2 tons of derelict gear recovered and recycled utilizing the Fishing for Energy program.

ReelCycle to Partner with Tampa Bay Watch on Derelict Crab Trap Removal Project

In Tampa Bay, it is estimated that there are thousands of abandoned crab traps that have been accumulating in the bay for decades. The temporary closure on July 11 is a unique opportunity that only happens once every two years. It allows us to remove any trap from the water because during the closed season, all crab traps are considered derelict.   ReelCycle will assist in the cleanup and recycle the collected the traps after the event is concluded.  

Who: Anyone with a boat that is willing to help remove abandoned traps from the waters. Tampa Bay Watch will provide tarps, but your boat will get dirty.

When: Saturday, July 11 from 9am to noon

Where:  We are recruiting volunteers for six different locations throughout the bay, so you can choose which location you would prefer to participate. The locations are:

  • Belleair Causeway boat ramp in Belleair Bluffs
  • Upper Tampa Bay at Courtney Campbell Causeway boat ramp
  • Alafia River at Williams Park boat ramp
  • Cockroach Bay boat ramp
  • Boca Ciega Bay at Fort De Soto boat ramp
  • St. Petersburg at Demen’s Landing boat ramp

All volunteers will meet at their designated location at 9AM on July 11 for an introduction and event briefing. Dumpsters will be placed at each location for the proper disposal of the traps.

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