SOURCE: Stellwagen Alive

December 11, 2008 10:15 ET

Stellwagen Alive Initiates Stellwagen Sweep: The First Dedicated Effort to Clean Up Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

GLOUCESTER, MA--(Marketwire - December 11, 2008) - Stellwagen Alive has announced the creation of Stellwagen Sweep, a two-year initiative to locate and remove marine debris harmful to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. It is widely accepted by the fishing and the scientific communities that there is an abundance of marine debris within the confines of the sanctuary. Stellwagen Alive's Stellwagen Sweep will consist of a series of multi-day events during which professional fishing captains in specially prepared vessels will locate and hoist harmful debris from the ocean floor. Some of this debris has already been removed by concerned fishermen and needs to be disposed of properly. The Stellwagen Sweep will also provide facilities to deposit harmful, old gear and debris in a safe way. Stellwagen Alive! will partner with various waste disposal firms to convert the harmful gear into useful energy that will supplement power generation across New England.

The first event for Stellwagen Sweep will take place in the historic fishing port of Gloucester, MA. Currently, Gloucester is home to some 60 commercial fishing vessels and hundreds of fishermen, many of whom rely on the rich waters of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Through the cooperation of these fishermen and the Gloucester Harbormaster, Jim Caulkett, the first Stellwagen Sweep event will kick off on Thursday, December 18, 2008. Vessels commissioned by Stellwagen Alive! will seek and retrieve harmful debris from the western portion of Stellwagen departing Gloucester Harbor at 8:30am on December 18, 2008. It is estimated that this event will collect approximately 4 tons of marine debris.

About Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Congress designated the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in 1992 as "an area of special national significance." Virtually the size of the state of Rhode Island, the sanctuary stretches between Cape Ann and Cape Cod in federal waters off of Massachusetts. It is home to over 575 species of marine life and is widely known as one of the richest marine habitats in the Gulf of Maine and is home to some of the largest seasonal aggregations of endangered whales along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.

About Stellwagen Alive!

Stellwagen Alive! is an independent 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to restore and preserve the marine environment known as Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Stellwagen Alive also acts in an advisory capacity to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary office in Scituate, MA.