March 19, 2018 Commercial Watermen Recover 3,496 Lost Crab Pots from Coastal Waters
total of 76 commercial watermen worked throughout the coast of North
Carolina in January to collect 3,496 lost crab pots as part of a
statewide marine debris removal effort to prevent hazards for people
The Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project is led by the North Carolina
Coastal Federation with $100,000 from the North Carolina General
The project takes place during the no-potting period when all crab pots
must be removed from the water due to fishing regulations. This cleanup
was conducted in all three Marine Patrol districts — covering all
internal coastal waters — for the second year. The project lasted from
Jan. 17-27, with boats working anywhere from two to six days, depending
on the Marine Patrol district.
This year in Marine Patrol District 1 — which covers the northeast
region of the North Carolina coast from the Virginia line to Ocracoke —
24 boats made up of 48 commercial watermen picked up 2,245 crab pots.
"This project has established truly remarkable partnerships among
different user groups,” said Sara Hallas, coastal education coordinator
for the federation and project lead. “I'm proud both to be involved
myself and of the federation for bringing everyone together. The
combination of knowledge and expertise of these groups working together
for a common goal is crucial to the project's success, year after year."
Pots typically end up lost as the result of large weather events. Lost
pots can become hung in man-made structures such as bridges, or they
can drift into channels over time, increasing the likelihood of buoy
detachment by vessel traffic.
Commercial watermen are able to predict where lost pots may end up
based on shifting currents and tides, and this project also creates
opportunities for work during a slower time of the year due to colder
waters and the multi-week crabbing closure.
"We are out working on the water almost every day and make a living off
the sound. It takes care of us so we want to take care of it,” said
John Silver, a waterman who annually participates in the District 1
Prior to 2017, this project was funded by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program to recover crab
pots from Marine Patrol District 1. The funding from the General
Assembly made the 2017 expansion possible.
The cleanup is held in partnership with North Carolina Marine Patrol,
with additional financial support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program.
“We are grateful and appreciative of the assistance and support for
removing derelict crab pots from coastal waters during the closed
potting season this year,” said Marine Patrol District 1 in a
statement. “The increased assistance from local watermen and the
federation has helped free up Marine Patrol officers for other
enforcement duties and assignments. This project has allowed the
federation, the commercial fishing industry and the state to work
together removing derelict pots from the water. We look forward to
continued cooperation in the future.”
The federation also worked with Dare County Public Works for this
project. Watch this video from Outer Banks Voice to learn more about
For more information about the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project, visit nccoast.org/crabpotproject or contact Sara Hallas at 252-473-1607.
About the North Carolina Coastal Federation
The North Carolina Coastal Federation is a nonprofit membership
organization that works to keep the coast of North Carolina a great
place to live, work and play. Through a variety of programs and
partnerships, the federation provides for clean coastal waters and
habitats, advocates to protect the coast and teaches and informs people
about the coast and what they can do to protect it.
The federation has offices in Ocean, Wanchese and Wrightsville Beach, N.C.
To learn more, please visit nccoast.org or call 252-393-8185.