WAILUKU — A Maui marine center received has grant funding of nearly $15,000 to collect and recycle fishing nets around Maui.
The Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute received the funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Maui News reported Monday.
The foundation announced plans last week to distribute about $121,700 in grants to organizations nationwide to help collect and dispose of derelict fishing gear along U.S. coastlines.
The funding is expected to help prevent more than 100 tons of fishing gear from entering coastal waters in Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Washington.
Fishing gear poses a threat to sea turtles, which can become entangled and suffer deep cuts leading to infections, limited movement, flipper loss, or death.
The Maui institute’s project funding of $14,767 includes a $9,478 grant with matching private donations of $5,289.
The institute plans to work with commercial fishermen at Maui’s harbors to collect decommissioned fishing nets with a goal of converting 6 tons of nets into recycled energy.
Institute Executive Director Tommy Cutt said a 20-foot collection bin will be placed in Maalaea in west Maui for use by mid-August.
The grant funding will support the cost of the bin, staff time and net shipment to Honolulu, he said.
The nets will be shipped to the Schnitzer Steel Hawaii Corp. scrap metal facility to be chopped into pieces before they are burned. The pieces will then be sent to Honolulu’s H-Power energy-from-waste facility run by Covanta Energy, Cutt said.
The grants were awarded through the Fishing for Energy Bin Program, a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Covanta, Schnitzer Steel Industries and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program.
The program was established in 2008.