The North Carolina Coastal Federation is asking commercial watermen and women to help in January to find and collect lost fishing gear in sounds along the northern and central coasts.
With the help of various partners, those in the commercial fishing industry are hired to collect the pots from the sounds during the annual closure Jan. 1-31 of internal coastal waters to all crab, eel, fish, and shrimp pots.
The nonprofit organization has led the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project since 2014 with the goal to remove lost crab pots and other fishing gear that can create serious hazards to boaters, wildlife and other fishers.
The 2024 project will take place in select areas within Marine Patrol District 1, or the northern coastal region, and District 2, which covers the central coastal region. Both are north of the Highway 58 bridge that connects Cape Carteret and Emerald Isle.
Applications can be submitted through the organization’s website until Dec. 15. To be considered, captains must have a valid North Carolina standard commercial fishing license.
Once the pots are collected, they are recycled to the best extent possible. The crab pots recovered from the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound region during the project will be available for the rightful property owners to reclaim after the cleanup is complete.