Reclaiming crab pots from lost fishing gear recovery efforts

Published 2:48 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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The North Carolina Coastal Federation is nearing the end of its ninth year of the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project. Along the coast, 50 commercial watermen and women spent several days in January retrieving lost crab pots from the sounds.

An additional part of the project will take place in Marine Patrol District 1 in the northeast region. Whole pots, in good condition, recovered from the Albemarle and Pamlico Sound region will be available for the rightful property owners to claim. This includes crab pots retrieved from the Virginia state line, Manteo to Swan Quarter, and from the Outer Banks to Ocracoke.

Recovered crab pots, determined to be in good enough condition to be used again, have been set aside during the cleanup project in the northeast region. Only pots with an identifiable buoy that were recovered from the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound region have been set aside for this reclaiming process.

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Those interested in claiming ownership of any of the 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 on weekdays through February 15. To schedule an appointment, call 252-473-1607.

“A valuable part of this project is having the opportunity to return some of the gear back to the fishers. With the value of recycling the gear being only pennies per pound, and the cost of a new crab pot rising to over $50, it just makes sense,” said Hallas.

Identification will be required upon claiming any gear. Any gear left unclaimed will be recycled to the best extent possible.

This project is part of the federation’s overall effort to ensure a coast that is free of marine debris. Establishing an annual paid program for marine debris removal – including crab pots – is a key objective of the N.C. Marine Debris Strategic Plan. For more information on the progress of the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project over the past years, visit