Over 70 local commercial watermen were involved in a project to help remove fishing gear from North Carolina coastal waters. A fleet of boats collected more than 4-thousand two hundred crab pots during the one and a half week project. Jared Brumbaugh has more.
The number of crab pots recovered this year is over double the amount collected in 2014, 2015, and 2016 combined. It was also the first time the effort covered all internal waters. Coastal Advocate with the North Carolina Coastal Federation Ladd Bayliss says they hired local fishermen for their innate skills in understanding how the water moves and in turn find potential lost crab pots.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of fall weather with Hermine and Matthew so there was considerable number of pots left behind not because of neglect, but because of harsh weather.”
The Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project began January 18th and took place during the no-potting period when all crab pots must be removed from the water. The statewide effort, led by the North Carolina Coastal Federation and other partnering organizations, began in 2014 and is funded by appropriated money though the General Assembly and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program.