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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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videoA local man is heading up a government project to rid our waters of abandoned crab pots. They are more than just an eye sore. WWAY’s Tim Buckley explains.

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