Derelict Fishing Gear Retrieval

The “Derelict Gear Retrieval Project,” often called “Ghost Pot Program,” is a win-win project impacting the Bay on both an ecologic and economic level. In March and April 2012, the ORP in partnership with Versar, MD DNR and the Maryland Watermen’s Association employed nearly 800 qualified commercial crabbers on 436 vessels to participate in retrieving derelict crab pots from targeted areas of Chesapeake Bay.


Efforts were guided by side-scan sonar that illustrated areas of the greatest concentration of derelict crab pots — generally at the mouths of tributaries. Using grappling hooks, watermen worked for four days each to reclaim lost crab posts in 14 large areas (18 retrieval events) around the Bay. A total of 11,851 pieces of debris were documented from all 14 sites. The majority of debris collected was related to crab pots and other fishing gear. Other debris items include anchors, rope, tires, chains and cables.

Here's the press release from Balt Co from last year: