WANCHESE – The North Carolina Coastal Federation is wrapping up a sixth year of the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project in partnership with North Carolina Marine Patrol. Along the coast, 78 commercial watermen and women spent about a week retrieving lost crab pots from the sounds. This project was funded by the North Carolina General Assembly.
An additional component of the project will take place in the northeast region, Marine Patrol District 1, this year. The whole pots, in good condition, recovered from the Albemarle and Pamlico Sound region, will be available for the rightful property owners to reclaim. This will include crab pots retrieved from the Virginia state line, Manteo to Swan Quarter and also includes the Outer Banks to Ocracoke.
A recovered crab pot, determined to be in good enough condition to be used again, will be set aside during the course of the cleanup project in the northeast region. Only pots with an identifiable buoy, recovered from the Albemarle and Pamlico Sound region, will be set aside for this process.
Those interested in claiming ownership of any of this gear recovered from the northeast coast will need to make an appointment with Sara Hallas, the federation’s northeast coastal education coordinator. The gear will be securely stored in Wanchese. Appointments will be available from Feb. 4 to March 4 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment call 252-473-1607.
Identification will be required upon claiming any gear. Any gear left unclaimed will be recycled to the best extent possible.
Throughout the recovery project, all 39 two-person crews were required to carry a single Samsung tablet equipped with a custom data collection program. This program was created for data collection in remote locations and utilizes existing satellite networks. The water participants recorded physical and geographical attributes of each crab pot retrieved. Maps depicting the number of pots retrieved along the coast will be created and shared as part of the final report.
This project is part of the federation’s overall marine debris reduction campaign. For more information on the progress of the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project, visit nccoast.org/crabpotproject.