Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘marine debris’

Volunteers help clean up critical habitat along Absecon Bay

Friday, November 3rd, 2017
Preservation of declining habitat is key to survival of high marsh wildlife

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Litter, debris and trash dumped at NJDOT Mitigation site on Absecon Bay.

As the sea rises, high areas on the coastal salt marsh will decline or disappear. These areas are higher in elevation and usually consist of more sandy soil. The sandy soil attracts nesting female diamondback terrapins, like many roadsides throughout New Jersey. As we harden shorelines to hold back floodwaters, terrapins will face more dangerous treks to find suitable nesting habitat, unless these high marsh areas are enhanced and elevations raised. For the past five years we have been surveying Route 30 (Whitehorse Pike) during summer months for the occurance of terrapins on the highway. Adult female terrapins enter the roadway while seeking these sandy areas above the high tide line. Most, if not all, do not survive crossing Route 30. (more…)

395 Abandoned Crab Pots Removed from Barnegat Bay Estuary

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
CWF Spearheading Project to Recycle Dangerous Fishing Gear and Create Healthier Bay Ecosystem and Local Economy

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

A pile of abandoned crab pots before being processed at the WeCrab community day.

A pile of abandoned crab pots before being processed at the WeCrab community day.

Through a series of public and private partnerships, and with the help of the local fishing community, CWF is leading a project to inventory and remove more than 1,000 abandoned crab pots in Barnegat Bay. These derelict pots, lost from storms or cut lines, can have devastating impacts on the bay ecosystem and local economy.

 

A phenomenon referred to as “ghost fishing,” these traps will often continue to catch and kill marine life when abandoned, like the Northern diamondback terrapin and otherwise harvestable crabs. These lost harvests translate to economic losses for fishermen and the local community. The pots also disrupt navigation and damage sensitive ecosystems.

 

In the first year of our two year project, our partners removed 395 of these abandoned crab pots from the Barnegat Bay watershed, championed by local fisherman RJ Cericola and his crew. Almost 260 other pots were assessed but not recovered.

  • RJ Cericola: 204 abandoned crab pots removed
  • MATES: 103 abandoned crab pots removed
  • Stockton University: 64 abandoned crab pots removed (40 near Waretown and 24 near Mud Cove, Little Egg Harbor Bay, reflected in the map below)
  • Monmouth University: 24 abandoned crab pots removed
Abandoned crab pots recovered by Stockton University.

Abandoned crab pots recovered by Stockton University.

Starting in December 2016, we look forward to working with RJ Cericola, our new partner Jeff Silady — ReClam the Bay boat captain and local fisherman — and bringing on a commercial fisherman to reach our goal of 1,000 abandoned crab pots recovered.

 

Some of the recovered pots were stored at Stockton University Marine Field Station in Port Republic and were inventoried for data; broken down and recycled by volunteers this past Earth Day.

MATES students collecting data at community data.

MATES students collecting data at community day.

Scientists, students, commercial crabbers and other volunteers gathered on April 23rd for the WeCrab Community Day to record data, clean and prep the recovered derelict crab pots for recycling. The WeCrab Marine Debris Project is a partnership between the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve and Stockton University.

IMG_7465

 

Volunteers collected data on condition, cause of loss, weight, among other points. We are working to understand the impacts of abandoned pots and their distribution, gather information on the percentage of pots lost annually and also develop a long-term reporting system for lost pots and other fishing gear. Information collected from recovered pots help aid these efforts.

 

CWF’s abandoned crab pot removal project is funded by NOAA’s Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant. We are proud to work with our partners at the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental ScienceMonmouth UniversityStockton UniversityReClam the Bay, and volunteers. Conserve Wildlife Foundation is also working on an outreach campaign to raise awareness on the impacts of derelict crab pots and marine debris with additional funding from the New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.

 

Learn More:

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Announcing Species on the Edge: Marine Debris Edition

Friday, March 4th, 2016
Conserve Wildlife Foundation introduces new educational contest for 5-8th grade students in New Jersey

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Image by: Jessie Peter (2009) “The Educator’s Guide to Marine Debris”

Image by: Jessie Peter (2009) “The Educator’s Guide to Marine Debris”

The scientists at Conserve Wildlife Foundation, NOAA, students from the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES), and other partners are working with local fishermen to locate and recycle over 1,000 abandoned crab pots that litter the Barnegat Bay watershed.
 
Abandoned crab pots are a form of marine debris, or litter that ends up in oceans, seas, or other large bodies of water. Every year, tons of marine debris is left behind in Barnegat Bay and surrounding waters. When a fisherman’s gear is lost or abandoned it can trap, hurt or even kill marine wildlife like fish, crabs and the diamondback terrapin, a small turtle that lives in the salt marsh.

Nearly 50 diamondback terrapins drowned in one abandoned crab pot. Photo by Shannon Alexander of Bay Country Kayaking

Nearly 50 diamondback terrapins drowned in one abandoned crab pot. Photo by Shannon Alexander of Bay Country Kayaking

To help fix the problem, our team of scientists will locate (with sonar technology) and take the crab pots that have been lost or left behind in the water. The old and rusty crab pots that are recovered will be recycled and converted into energy!
 
Calling all students! Do you want to help too? Enter our Species on the Edge: Marine Debris Edition contest and draw a design that shows how our project will help Barnegat Bay and marine wildlife like the diamondback terrapin.

  • Open to all New Jersey fifth-eighth graders in public, private, or home schools.
  • The contest opens on Friday, March 4 and closes on Friday, May 20, 2016.
  • Decal designs will be judged by marine scientists. Judging takes place in June.
  • The winner will be notified by the end of June.

 

The winning design will be printed on 2,500 stickers to use as the official “logo” of the project. The winning student will receive two free passes to Jenkinson’s Aquarium and spend a day in the field with one of CWF’s wildlife biologists.

 

For more information, contest entry form, and educator resources, visit our website.

 

Our abandoned crab pot project brings together the NOAA Marine Debris program, Fishing for Energy partnership, CWF, MATES, Monmouth University, Stockton University, ReClam the Bay, and local fishermen and baymen. Funders of this project include: NOAA Marine Debris Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Covanta, and the New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.

 

Learn More:

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Marine Debris Makes Conserve Wildlife Foundation ‘Crabby’

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
CWF leading the charge to provide free recycling and disposal of derelict fishing gear throughout the Barnegat Bay watershed

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Abandoned crab pots unnecessarily trap fish and harm the marine ecosystem, according to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ. (Image: NOAA)

Abandoned crab pots unnecessarily trap fish and harm other marine life. Photo credit: NOAA

 

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is proud to collaborate with the Fishing for Energy partnership — an innovative public-private effort that provides commercial fishermen a no-cost solution to recycle old and unusable fishing gear — to recycle an estimated 26,000 pounds of derelict crab pots and other marine debris collected throughout the Barnegat Bay watershed as part of a removal project over the next two years. On Friday, we celebrated our new project with our Fishing for Energy partners at a press event in Waretown, New Jersey.

 

Abandoned or lost fishing equipment can threaten marine wildlife, like diamondback terrapins, in a number of ways, including by damaging ecosystems as nets and heavy equipment settle upon the ocean floor and through “ghost fishing,” wherein gear continues to catch fish and other wildlife even if abandoned or lost. Gear also can impact navigational safety, damage fishing equipment and boats that are in use, and have economic repercussions on fishing and shipping enterprises and coastal communities.

 

In just six days, RJ Cericola and other local fishermen have collected over 160 abandoned crab pots!

Look at all the abandoned crab pots removed so far!

Look at all the abandoned crab pots removed so far!

 

“By recycling thousands of dangerous abandoned crab pots, our team is protecting vulnerable wildlife such as the diamondback terrapin, which inhabit the same shallow coastal waters in Barnegat Bay where pots are often lost or abandoned,” said Stephanie Egger, CWF wildlife biologist and principal investigator. “Terrapin population declines, reduced growth, and changes in sex ratios have been directly attributed to by-catch mortality in crab pots. We are so thrilled to work with local fishermen and all of our project partners, particularly the Fishing for Energy program, NOAA, and the New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership.”

 

This two-year marine debris removal project, led by CWF and supported by a NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant, is working with local crabbers to locate and remove more than 1,000 derelict crab pots from Barnegat Bay. As part of this project, CWF is partnering with the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science, Monmouth University, Stockton University, ReClam the Bay, New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (NJCWRP), and the recreational and commercial fishing community to identify, retrieve, and inventory derelict crab pots. The project is also conducting education and outreach activities on the impacts of derelict crab pots including the development of a lesson plan for schools, presentations for the community, developing informational print materials, and collaborating with the WeCrab education and outreach project led by the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve/Rutgers University and Stockton University.

MATES students collecting data on the derelict crab pots.

MATES students collecting data on the derelict crab pots.

 

“NJCWRP is proud to support this coalition of partners working on innovative projects to benefit the ecological quality of Barnegat Bay,” said Russell Furnari, chair, NJCWRP. “Removing thousands of these derelict crab pots not only enhances habitat, but also reduces navigational hazards, human health issues, and fishery impacts. We are thrilled to help provide outreach and educational campaigns to the local community, which will prevent additional lost pots and promote a deeper understanding of the bay’s habitat and wildlife.”

 

The Fishing for Energy partnership provided funds for the transportation and disposal of the gear found in Barnegat Bay through Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facility in Union County, New Jersey. At the Covanta site, any metal found on the debris will be recycled and the remainder of the traps converted into clean, renewable energy that will power area homes and businesses. The recycled materials will be processed and converted into enough energy to power 2,200 homes for a month!

From left to right: CWF's Stephanie Egger, Covanta's Meg Morris, NFWF's Courtney McGeachy, and Covanta's Kristin Blake.

From left to right: CWF’s Stephanie Egger, Covanta’s Meg Morris, NFWF’s Courtney McGeachy, and Covanta’s Kristin Blake.

 

Fishing for Energy is a nationwide partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; the NOAA Marine Debris Program; Covanta, a New Jersey-headquartered sustainable waste and energy solutions company; and Schnitzer Steel Industries, one of the largest metal recycling companies in the United States. The partnership offers conveniently located collection bins for disposal of old fishing gear, making it easy for fishing communities – even small coastal communities like Waretown and Mantoloking – to deal with the issue of derelict gear. As a result, the partnership reduces the amount of gear that ends up in U.S. coastal waters and recycles and converts the remaining gear and debris into clean, renewable energy at Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste facilities.

 

Making Headlines: News Coverage from the Press Event:

 

Learn More:

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Battle of the Bags!!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

The osprey pair at our Osprey Cam nest has been “decorating” their nest with plastic marine debris. They’re turning out to be hoarders of plastic mesh bags. So far they’ve collected three to use as nesting material. How will this play out? We can’t say for sure but are closely monitoring with the Osprey Cam.

Plastic mesh clam bag in the nest.

The ospreys returned and so did the marine debris.

Yay! Some natural nesting material!!

Yay! Some natural nesting material!!

Too many plastic mesh bags!!

Too many plastic mesh bags!!

They're slowly migrating out of the nest...

They’re slowly migrating out of the nest…

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