NOAA, Oregon crab industry to celebrate continued marine debris partnership

Saturday event to mark transformation of Recovery Act project into long-term effort

August 20, 2011

NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, along with other NOAA officials, will join representatives from the Oregon fishing industry and state representatives to celebrate the successful completion of one project and inaugurate a new partnership to remove derelict crab pots and other marine debris in Oregon’s coastal fishing waters in a dockside event in Newport, Ore., this Saturday.

The ceremony will mark the successful culmination of the Oregon Fishing Industry Partnership to Restore Marine Habitat, initially funded with a $699,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and led by NOAA, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, and the Oregon State Police.

The success of the recovery act project, which began in 2009 has inspired a new industry-led partnership to continue the derelict crab pot removal effort.

The debris removal effort, which began in 2009, has helped Oregon both economically and ecologically, contributing to a healthier ocean and a sustainable Dungeness crab fishery. In addition to removing nearly 160 tons of debris including more than 3,000 derelict pots from the marine environment, the project has created jobs and other economic benefits along the coast. This transition serves as a model for other partnerships where federal and state “seed” funding can evolve into industry-led efforts.

“NOAA is proud to be involved in groundbreaking efforts such as this, to not only provide Americans with job opportunities in a tough economic climate, but to also address the problem of marine debris and the health of our ocean,” said Lubchenco, who is also under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere.

To date, this project has supported approximately 10,000 hours of work for commercial fisherman, state employees, and other project partners in Oregon coastal communities, putting people to work during the crab fishery’s off-season to remove derelict gear and monitor how and where the crab pots are lost and at what rate.

“The Oregon crab industry is working hard to solve this problem,” said Nick Furman of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. “The continued partnership with NOAA on this next phase of the derelict gear clean-up initiative will provide additional resources and incentives needed to create a long term, industry-driven program.”

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