“Fishing for energy” turning trash into electricity

A new program beginning in New England hopes to turn discarded fishing tackle and ocean debris into electricity.

The “Fishing for Energy,” is an effort to work with coastal communities to reduce the amount of abandoned fishing gear that ends up in the nation’s oceans. It’s a joint project with Covanta Energy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The gear is collected and burned to generate power at a nearby Covanta incinerator. According to the company, the power plant is outfitted with emission control scrubbers that remove pollutants that might be released into the atmosphere from the burning of plastics and toxins in fishing debris.

Each year thousands of pounds of discarded fishing tackle affects the marine environment. At IBRRC we continue to see increasing numbers of birds – especially endangered Brown Pelicans – injured by fishing line, nets and hooks. See: Tangled in trash.

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