Conserve Wildlife Blog

Fishing For A Cleaner Barnegat Bay

December 8th, 2018

Ghost pots in Barnegat Bay

By: Emily Heiser; Wildlife Biologist

Derelict fishing gear continues to plague the depths of Barnegat Bay.  Often lost through storm events or due to boat traffic, lost or abandoned crab pots (ghost pots) become an unintentional deathtrap for a variety of marine species and reduce otherwise harvestable resources.  CWF and their partners at MATES, Stockton, and ALS have been working to recover lost pots in Barnegat Bay since 2015.

Over the course of the last three field seasons, 1,300 crab pots have been recovered and their bycatch has been extensively documented.  Notably, CWF and MATES have been focusing on how to further help northern diamondback terrapins who often find themselves caught in ghost pots.  In 2016, one pot contained the remains of 17 terrapins.

As we enter the fourth field season of pot collections, the project hopes to not only recover as may pots as possible, but also to glean further information on how the pots move in a variety of substrates and under a variety conditions.  To bring further awareness to the issue, CWF teamed up with the awesome folks at Citizen Racecar to produce a short informational film about ghost fishing and its effects on Barnegat Bay.  Visit our Facebook page to view the video: https://www.facebook.com/wildlifenj/

This project is funded primarily by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with additional support by the New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Covanta and Schnitzer Steel also support the project by recycling the metal in the retrieved crab pots.

 

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