The North Carolina Coastal Federation is seeking commercial watermen for their annual on-the-water Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project.
Anyone with a valid Standard Commercial Fishing License in North Carolina can apply to participate in this program to help the federation and the North Carolina Marine Patrol remove lost fishing gear from coastal waters. Coastal Education Coordinator with the North Carolina Coastal Federation Sara Hallas says the cleanup will be held during the “no crab potting” period from January 18th through February 7th.
“It’s important to remove this lost gear because it creates navigational hazards for general boaters, it creates hazards for other fishermen that get caught in this lost gear, and it also causes hazards to marine life that get trapped possibly inside crab pots such as finfish or blue crab.”
The project, which started in 2014, is funded by the North Carolina General Assembly, with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program.
“Most of the pots will either be, if they’re in good condition, will be returned to their owners, if they can be identified. And the rest of the pots will be scrapped for metal or recycled into as many parts as we can.”
The deadline for application is January 12th. Last year, 4,300 crab pots were removed along with 3.5 tons of various marine debris in a single day.