Honolulu facility turns lost fishing nets into energy

According to experts, lost fishing nets unintentionally claim far too many marine animals every year. Entanglements of large nets, some of them weighing upwards of hundreds of pounds, get caught up in currents, where they can ensnare marine mammals and sea turtles, endanger ships, and wreak havoc on delicate ecosystems.

Recent stories by CNN (video above) and Waste-Management-World highlight the Nets-to-Energy program in Honolulu, Hawaii, that is helping to solve this problem.

Through the Nets-to-Energy program, nets are collected (often by nonprofit groups), chopped into small pieces (at Schnitzer Steel), transported, and converted into energy at Covanta’s Honolulu Resource Recovery Venture in Kapolei, Hawaii.

This facility takes in up to 3,000 tons of waste each day – or 80% of the waste generated on Oahu – and produces enough energy daily to meet about 10 percent of Oahu’s electricity needs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says, “One ton of derelict nets equal enough electricity to power one home for 25 days.”[1]

The program also allows fishermen to dispose of old fishing gear at no charge, before it is lost to sea. According to NOAA, “In the first three years of this program, over one million pounds of derelict fishing gear was collected.”[2]

Read more or see video on NOAA.org.

[1] NOAA, “Fishing for Energy Partnership” see: http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/projects/fishing4energy.html (referenced April 9, 2013).

[2] NOAA, “Ghostfishing is a term that describes what happens when derelict fishing gear ‘continues to fish’,” see: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/ghostfishing.html (referenced April 9, 2013).

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