The North Carolina Coastal Federation is currently accepting applications for “on-water” cleanup assistance related to its annual Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project. This project is open to commercial watermen in North Carolina.sarah-benson_pic-n-pots_014-2

Watermen are selected to participate in this program annually to help the federation and the North Carolina Marine Patrol remove lost fishing gear from coastal waters during the “no-potting” period, typically from Jan. 15 – Feb. 7. In January 2016, 11 crews, in partnership with Marine Patrol officers, removed 753 pots from select areas in District 1. Combined with a shoreline cleanup, this project removed over 7.5 tons of fishing gear and various marine debris from Northeastern North Carolina waters. The 2017 project will take place in select areas within all three Marine Patrol Districts, statewide.

To qualify, watermen must have a valid Standard Commercial Fishing License (SCFL) and guarantee availability for work during the period of Jan. 18 through Feb. 7, 2017. They must attend a mandatory training session to learn general project protocol and how to use project equipment (data collection tablets, and for a subset of watermen, side-scan sonars).

Compensation is $400 per boat, per day. Each boat is required to have two people onboard for safety reasons. In some locations, greater than one week of work could be possible for those accepted to this program. This project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program and is intended to improve habitat and water quality, as well as support coastal economies.

Applications are due Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, and are downloadable at Completed applications can be mailed to P.O. Box 276, Wanchese, NC 27981 or faxed to 252-473-2402. For more information, contact Ladd Bayliss at 252-473-1607 or