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Stonington commercial fishermen to recycle old gear

Stonington -- Commercial fishing boats at the Town Dock have begun participating in the Fishing for Energy partnership, a program that offers fishermen a way to recycle old fishing gear for free.

The gear will be stripped of metals for recycling with the help of Schnitzer Steel and processed into clean, renewable energy at the Covanta SECONN Energy-from-Waste Facility in Preston. The Town Dock is the first port in the state to participate in the program and fishermen can deposit gear in a collection bin at the dock.

Fishing for Energy is a national partnership between Covanta, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program and Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc.

According to Covanta, the program was established in 2008 to reduce the financial burden imposed on commercial fishermen when disposing of old, derelict or unusable fishing gear, reducing the amount of gear in U.S. coastal waters.

Over the past 10 years, Fishing for Energy has collected more than 3 million pounds of old fishing gear, a portion of which has been retrieved directly from the ocean by fishermen.

Covanta said abandoned or lost fishing equipment can threaten marine life by damaging ecosystems as they settle upon the ocean floor or by continuing to catch fish. Such gear can also impact navigation, damage fishing equipment and boats that are in use.

“After many years of success at ports in New England and up and down the Northeast, we are delighted to be adding our first port in Connecticut,” said Paul Gilman, Covanta’s chief sustainability officer.



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