Applications to assist with the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project in 2021 are open until Dec. 15, 2020.

Photo by Daniel Pullen

WANCHESE — Every year, crab pots and other fishing gear are lost in our sounds, creating hazards for boats and marine life. The North Carolina Coastal Federation is seeking applications to help clean up this debris through the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project. The Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project, is part of a statewide marine debris removal effort led by the federation. This project is open to commercial watermen and women in North Carolina.  

Selected participants will help the federation and N.C. Marine Patrol remove lost fishing gear from coastal waters during the “no-potting” period. In January 2019, commercial watermen and women, in partnership with Marine Patrol officers, removed 3,112 pots from select areas in Districts 1, 2, and 3. The 2021 project will take place in select areas within all three Marine Patrol Districts statewide, on select days within the closed seasons as follows:

  • Jan. 1-31 north of the Highway 58 bridge to Emerald Isle
  • March 1-15 south of the Highway 58 bridge

To qualify, participants must have a valid Standard Commercial Fishing License (SCFL) and guarantee availability for work on select days during the closed seasons (outlined above). They must also attend a mandatory training session to learn general project protocol and how to use project equipment.

Participants are required to provide their own vessel. Compensation is $450 per boat, per day. Each boat is required to have two people onboard for safety reasons. The number of assigned working days will vary per area, but is expected to be a minimum of three days.

The Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project is funded by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Commercial Resource Fund Committee and the Funding Committee for the N.C. Commercial Resource Fund under the Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Grant Program. It is intended to improve habitat and water quality, as well as support coastal economies.

Applications are due December 15, 2020, and are downloadable at A limited number of positions will be filled per region. Completed applications can be mailed to P.O. Box 276, Wanchese, NC 27981, or faxed to 252-473-2402. For more information, contact Sara J. Hallas at 252-473-1607 or