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Abandoned crab pots snag the crab industry

READ MORE: Abandoned crab pots snag the crab industry
It is just another day on the water for Andy Wood. He is hunting out abandoned crap traps across North Carolina. In a short trip, two traps were found off Surf City. Blue crabs are threatened the most by these so called derelict pots. “They are lost in these pots. They will die in those pots and be eaten by more blue crabs that die, and are attracting more blue crabs. It is a perpetual cycle,” he said. Crabs find their way into the abandoned traps through a hole. And once they get in, they can not get out. The irony of the situation is that these traps are actually taking crabs away from the very same fishermen that put them there. “The negative impact is one, these cost about thirty or more dollars a piece. So they are out of pocket money there,” said Wood. “Plus they're harvesting crabs that would otherwise be harvested for the crab industry, which is one of the largest fishery industries in the state.” Wood and his crew clean out the traps and take inventory of any marine life they find. On a typical day they find as many as 30 crab pots. The hope is that laws will be passed to regulate the use and upkeep of these traps, making it illegal to leave the ghost traps in the open water. One proposal would also require crabbers to put identification plates on their traps. About 17 percent of the traps cast each year are abandoned in the water. Andy Wood is also working on a way to recycle the metal from recovered crab pots.

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Andy Wood should stick to what he knows

Andy Wood didn't put much research into his effort to save Blue Crabs in our waters. If he had, he would have learned that the NC Division of Marine Fisheries has found through field study that crabs move freely into, out of, and between traps- be they "ghost pots" or actively worked commercial pots. The ghost pots have actually been shown to become habitat for a number of species of shrimp, oysters, and juvenile finfish. Also, he might like to know that commercial shrimpers catch and remove more ghost pots in their trawl nets than his group could ever hope to. I don't want to diminish what he is trying to do, but the last thing that our local commercial fisherman need is another false blemish on their reputation based on poor science.


And the traps that have been left without care and alge covered boueys that cannot be seen, have torn up more than one prop, motor or shaft... Outlaw em in the intracoastal waterway and main channels