Decades of a thriving commercial and recreational fishery in Puget Sound has left tons of old fishing gear behind. Thousands of old crab pots litter the seafloor and hundreds of nets were caught in rocky outcroppings and draped along waterways. Gillnets and crab pots (commercial and sport) continue to fish long after they become lost. The result is wasted seafood and needless damage to marine resources and habitat.
Originating with the Clallam MRC, derelict fishing gear removal has been a successful project that is now overseen by the Northwest Straits Foundation and is conducted at a regional scale and shared internationally. More information about the ongoing program can be found at www.derelictgear.org.
In the local area, crabber outreach is making a positive change in the number of derelict crab pots lost. Volunteers distribute information and escape cord for pots at local festivals, sporting goods stores, and local boat ramps. In 2016 the Northwest Strait Foundations supported by a large advisory committee developed a prevention plan for lost crab pots in Puget Sound. The prevention plan is available here.