NCCF seeks fishermen to help collect lost gear

Commercial fishermen volunteering with the N.C. Coastal Federation pull lost fishing gear from the coastal waters of North Carolina during a previous year. (Contributed photo)

OCEAN — Commercial fishermen in Carteret County and elsewhere are invited to help the N.C. Coastal Federation clean up the waters by collecting lost gear.

The NCCF announced Nov. 17 it’s accepting applications from commercial fishermen to assist with its lost fishing gear recover project in 2021. According to the federation’s announcement, every year crab pots and other fishing gear are lost in North Carolina’s sounds, creating hazards for boats and marine life.

“The North Carolina Coastal Federation is seeking applications to help clean up this debris through the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project,” the NCCF said. “The Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project, is part of a statewide marine debris removal effort led by the federation. This project is open to commercial watermen and women in North Carolina.”

NCCF coastal education coordinator Sara Hallas said the project was last administered in 2019.

“We had eight boats working off the central coast, or Marine Patrol District 2,” she said. This area includes Carteret County. “Five of these crews were from Carteret County; the type of gear removed is focused on crab pots.”

According to the NCCF, a total of 3,112 pots were removed during the 2019 project, of which 1,159 were removed from the central district waters. Ms. Hallas said 180 pots were removed in 2019 from around Cedar Island.

“There was a lot of gear around Cedar Island,” she said, “and it was the first time we had crews cover this area, and it was much needed.”

In 2021, selected participants will help the federation and N.C. Marine Patrol remove lost fishing gear from coastal waters during the “no-potting” period. The 2021 project will take place in select areas within all three marine patrol districts on select days within the closed seasons as follows:

  • Jan. 1-31, north of the Highway 58 bridge to Emerald Isle.
  • March 1-15, south of the Highway 58 bridge.

To qualify, participants must have a valid standard commercial fishing license and guarantee availability for work on select days during the closed seasons outlined above. They must also attend a mandatory training session to learn general project protocol and how to use equipment.

Participants are required to provide their own vessel. Compensation is $450 per boat, per day. Each boat is required to have two people onboard for safety. The number of assigned working days will vary per area, but is expected to be a minimum of three days.

The project is funded by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Commercial Resource Fund Committee and the funding committee for the N.C. Commercial Resource Fund under the Commercial Fishing Resource Fund Grant Program. It’s intended to improve habitat and water quality, as well as support coastal economies.

Applications are due Tuesday, Dec. 15 and are downloadable at nccoast.org/crabpot. A limited number of positions will be filled per region.

Completed applications can be mailed to P.O. Box 276, Wanchese, NC 27981, or faxed to 252-473-2402.

 

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email mike@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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