The annual crab pot cleanup project started Monday and runs through February 7th. Jared Brumbaugh has more.
The removal period allows derelict and abandoned crab pots and fishing gear to be removed from internal waters. The Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project is in its fifth year and is funded primarily by the General Assembly. This year, 76 commercial watermen will participate in the cleanup effort which creates jobs for them while the no-potting period is in place. Coastal Education Coordinator with the Coastal Federation Sara Hallas.
“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 North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries will issue proclamations reopening waters in different areas as they are determined to be free of pots. Last year, 4,300 crab pots were removed along with 3.5 tons of various marine debris in a single day. The annual cleanup project is a partnership between the North Carolina Coastal Federation, the North Carolina Marine Patrol and commercial watermen.