CRWP to host first of four gillnet recycling events

From left: Matt Doucett, Gerald McCune and Shae Bowman load loose fishing nets into a shipping container for recycling. (Oct. 3, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
From left, Matt Doucett, Gerald McCune and Shae Bowman load loose fishing nets into a shipping container for recycling. (Oct. 3, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Copper River Watershed Project is gearing up or the first of four net recycling events planned for June through October and seeking volunteers to help with the first event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 15-17 in the Alaska Commercial Company parking lot.

CRWP will also collect gillnets July 27-29, Aug. 17-19 and October 12-14.

Each of these events will be for gillnets only. Harvesters wishing to recycle seine nets are asked to contact CRWP at 907-424-3334 to schedule a drop-off.

Those wishing to recycle their nets should strip them of any non-web materials and clean the web, then bring them to the AC parking lot, where volunteers and CRWP staff will be on hand to accept and assist with the nets.

Volunteer duties will include 2.5-hour shifts accepting and inspecting web that is dropped off, stripping web of any non-nylon material and prepping the web for transport.

Operations manager Shae Bowman said they hope to have enough gillnets by the end of October to fill a 40-foot container, to be shipped to Net Your Problem in Tacoma, Washington, from where the nets will be shipped overseas to be recycled into myriad new products.

The net recycling events are a cooperative effort of CRWP with the city of Cordova, Alaska Marine Lines, Native Village of Eyak, and Net Your Problem, plus financial support from the Copper Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association, Alaska Community Foundation and The Eyak Corporation.

CRWP serves 23 communities dotting the 26,500 square miles of the Copper River watershed, from Cordova, located west of the Copper River Delta, to the 35 residents of McCarthy, a village in the upper basin of the watershed. The watershed encompasses Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, and includes the Copper, Gulkana, Klutina, Chitina, Tazlina, Gakona and Tonsina rivers, as well as tributaries, lakes and smaller rivers

Learn more about CRWP at copperriver.org.