Ghost Crab Pots Around The Inland Bays


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Mike and Lorenzo found a lot of unmarked ghost crab pots … photo by Mike Meibaum

Mike Meibaum and Lorenzo Grey were boating around Rehoboth bay this past weekend.  They ran into a few ghost crab pots and decided to help out and remove several of them.  Some of the pots had crabs in them, which they let go, since it is past crab pot season and they weren’t planning on crabbing anyway.  A few crab pots had old turtle shells in them, because the turtles drowned in the pots and died.  Make sure you have turtle guards or excluders on your pots.  Also known as a turtle by catch reduction device.  All of the pots had old rope on them that was  rotten.  “Yeah most are around the country club area close to the canal. The ropes are so dry rotted that we lost five pots pulling them up. They weigh about seventy pounds because of so much debris and mud in them”.  Since it is illegal to check a marked pot they only removed the ones they could legally take out of the water.  Anybody need some used crab pots?  They just need a good power washing.  I’m kidding most of them are trashed.

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Dead turtles in ghost crab traps with live crabs … photo by Mike Meibaum

Usually every year DNREC’s marine police will go out and remove ghost crab pots.  If there is a address on them they will find the owner, and fine them for not removing their pots.  You aren’t supposed to leave crab pots in for more than seventy two hours, and must be removed from the water by December first to February twenty eighth. I don’t know when DNREC is headed out this year to remove ghost posts.  Sometimes they run for days and hit up many different areas.  Would be better if people would just remove their pots, but in the summertime when a pot gets the buoy cut off from a boat, you can’t see it or the rope anymore.  In the winter, you can see into the water much better.  Mike said there were still a lot of pots out there and the ones that had markers, they left them alone.  It is illegal to check or remove someone else’s crab pot even in the off season.

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Ghost crab pot covered with at least a seasons worth of growth if not more and full of dead crabs and turtles … photo by Mike Meibaum

If you are out and about boating be careful of ghost crab pots.  Kudos to the boys for removing these, a crab pot jammed up in a propeller and lower unit is no fun, especially this time of year.  Ghost pots are also hazardous to wildlife that get trapped in them and can’t get out.

Fish On!

Rich King

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