Ghost Crab Pot Round Up Day One

Ghost crab pots are a hazard around the inland bays

If you’ve never had the pleasure of your day ruined by snatching up a ghost crab pot with your lower unit, then are you even boating around the inland bays? Ghost crab pots are not only a boating hazard they are detrimental to aquatic life. Especially diamond back terrapins. One would think the fact the old pots become like reefs full of life they should remain in the water. I’ve caught my biggest flounder near new and ghost crab pots. The problem is these reef life encrusted crab pots are a still cages of death for many creatures. Also many don’t think about this, but cutting yourself on ghost crab pot in the dead of summer is a great way to get vibrio. Even a cut from a new pot infected a gentlemen with vibrio a few years ago. Another good reason to remove ghost crab pots in the dead of winter.

oyster cracker or toadfish often found in ghost crab pots

Delaware Sea Grant and the University of Delaware with the help of the Center For The Inland Bays gathered at Warwick Park on Thursday for day one of Ghost crab pot removal. DNREC Fish and Wildlife sent their folks to help out and be on site so the crews can legally pull these pots. Yes the crab pot rules still apply to ghost pots, yes a little crazy but understandable. The DNREC crews worked as hard as the volunteers. Big thanks to everyone for volunteering.

There are specific areas that have already been scanned for ghost crab pots. The volunteers, some with boats, teamed up with sonar boats and removed ghost crab pots. The sonar boats would confirm locations already scanned to be sure. Then the volunteers move in with grappling hooks to remove the ghost crab pot. The pots are checked for wild life and all findings are catalogued. Then they are taken to the piers at Warwick Park to be cleaned and stacked on a trailer. Crab pots that can be salvaged are used in a giveaway program Kate Fleming runs. You may have seen her at the Delmarva Outdoors Expo with the ghost crab pot display.

I helped remove ghost crab pots a couple years ago and I still have mud in places I didn’t know existed. Despite that it is rewarding to get these ghost crab pots out of our waterways. Huge shout out to Kate Fleming for organizing this. I know may are involved but it is Kate that made this happen. Something many of us have been trying to do for years. Get all these ghost crab pots out of the inland bays.

The crash pump is ready and willing

The folks who volunteered last week are all concerned with ghost pots in our waterways. Two of the crews had cranes they made for specifically removing ghost crab pots. Apparently one crew had that set up last time and now it is contest to see who makes the coolest ghost crab pot crane. These crane rigs look just like the set ups the oyster farmers use to pull aquaculture cages. They also had either tarps or boards mounted to the top of the gunnel on the crane side to protect the boat’s fiberglass.
Boats were packed with ghost crab pots, volunteers, and mud, lots of mud. It all cleans out real quick with a four inch crash pump.

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Thursday was a dead calm morning at low tide, with the incoming tide starting soon. That was day one, they had to reschedule day two and three due to weather. Hopefully we are back at it soon. The weather is looking worse and worse each week with a day or two here and there that might be okay.

The critters trapped in these ghost crab pots aren’t just fish and terrapins. There is plenty of shellfish that get “caged” not that it is detrimental to their existence but they are literally stuck in one spot. We found clams, and cyrtopleura costata or the angel wing clam that obviously grew up in that pot and couldn’t leave. Some of these found were huge!

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Angel wing found in a ghost crab pot The Angel Wing shell derives its common name from the wing like appearance of the shell. It is found in shallow parts of the north west Atlantic living in the seabed where it burrows through sand and mud to a depth of up to 3 feet.

There is s a new ghost crab pot removal program in place now. Boaters can sign up for a permit to remove ghost crap pots on their own. This has to be done by the end of February due to federal regulations and aquatic life and aqueous bottom regulations. Much like dredging regulations one can only disturb the bay bottoms during the dead of winter. Collection of the ghost crab pots will be coordinated by Kate Fleming at the University of Delaware Lewes Campus.

I’m looking forward to the next clean up. I am finding all kinds of bait for fishing. The bonus of volunteering.

Ghost Crab Pot Round Up Information

Ghost Crab Pot Round Up Day One

Delaware Sea Grant Seeks Boater Volunteers For Locating Ghost Crab Pots And Removal

2022 Derelict Crab Pot Round-Up Sign Ups In Indian River

Ghost Crab Pot

Ninety Nine Ghost Crab Pots Out Of The Water

  • ghost crab pot, university of delaware, delaware sea grant, center for the inland bays, rosedale beach, gull point, possum point

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