By Outer Banks Voice on January 16, 2018
Watermen from up and down the coast are setting out this week for what has become an annual ritual — looking for lost crab pots.
This is the fifth year of the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s recovery project, which is backed by $100,000 appropriated by the General Asssembly.
Last year, when the project was expanded to include to all three Marine Patrol districts, 72 watermen collected 4,304 pots, according to the federation.
“Crab pots are expensive and nobody ever wants to lose any, but hurricanes and nor’easters claim quite a few,” KP Scott, a commercial fisherman from Hatteras, said in an e-mail from the federation.
From 2014-2016, funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration covered the cost of hiring commercial fishermen to find lost pots in northeastern North Carolina Coastal waters.
“Commercial watermen are able to predict where lost pots may end up based on shifting currents and tides,” the federation wrote in its e-mail, “and this project also creates jobs for them during a slower time of the year due to colder waters and the multi-week crabbing closure.”
The federation tries to recycle as many of the pots as possible.
The Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project is part of the federation’s marine debris reduction campaign, which was kicked off with a cleanup at Kitty Hawk Woods on Jan. 13.
For more about the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project over the past four years, visit www.nccoast.org/crabpotproject.