The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has awarded seven new grants totaling $1.5 million on behalf of Fishing for Energy partners Covanta Energy Corp. and the NOAA Marine Debris Program. The goal is to provide free solutions for fishermen to dispose of old, derelict or unusable fishing gear and reduce the presence of such gear in and around coastal waterways. Three of the seven recipients have Pacific Northwest ties.
The grants include $140,568 to the College of William and Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science for a Dungeness crab trap biodegradable hinge escape mechanism. The project aims at reducing ecological and economic impacts associated with lost gear in coastal Washington and Alaska. The group will incorporate this innovative mechanism into crab traps, to test an effective, inexpensive mechanism to disarm derelict traps.
Another $174,913 was awarded to Natural Resources Consultants to remove up to 30 derelict gillnets from marine waters in Puget Sound, Washington. The project will clear areas of historically high concentrations of derelict nets to protect critical habitats for listed species, including Chinook salmon, bocaccio rockfish, yellow-eye rockfish and marbled murrelet.
A third grant of $213,627 was awarded to Island Trails Network of Kodiak, Alaska, to remove derelict fishing gear from prioritized locations in the Kodiak archipelago to reduce entanglement and mortality of whales, Stellar sea lions and other marine mammals, and to make more people aware of the impact of entangling debris.