Derelict Crab Pots
There are an estimated 12,193 lost crab pots in Puget Sound each year. A single lost crab pot without escape cord can kill up to 30 crabs until deterioration. That adds up to 180,000 harvestable crabs lost each year. To avoid this, follow best fishing practices when you go crabbing:
- AVOID MARINE TRANSIT ZONES AND FERRY LANES. Many lost pots are found in ferry traffic lanes and shipping lanes. It is assumed that crabbers unknowingly place their traps in these areas and the ferry/ship captains are not able to avoid them.
- USE MULTIPLE BUOYS in high current areas.
- MARK YOUR GEAR with clearly visible buoys to alert passing boaters to the presence of your crab pot.
- WEIGHT YOUR LINE. Weighted lines sink below the surface to avoid being cut by passing boats.
- WEIGHT YOUR POTS so they don't move in high currents.
- USE THE CORRECT LENGTH OF LINE. Knowing how deep the water is where you set your gear ensures that you will be able to find your buoy. Use 1/3 more line than the water depth where you are crabbing.
- SECURE CRAB POT LID AND ESCAPE PANELS WITH BIODEGRADABLE COTTON CORD (escape cord). This will allow crabs to escape from lost pots after the cord degrades.
What is Escape Cord?
Escape cord is cotton cord that will dissolve over time if a crab pot is lost, allowing trapped crabs and other marine species to escape. When a crab pot is lost underwater, the crabs trapped inside eventually die and serve as bait for more crabs over time. New crabs crawl inside to eat, and then find themselves trapped as well. Eventually the crab pot fills up with crabs that have been sealed inside by the metal or plastic ties that keep the pot acting like a trap long after it should. Click here to learn more about escape cord and how to use it.