Derelict crab pots have been documented to compete with active crab pots in Maryland and Virginia, reducing blue crab harvest and capturing non-target fish species. Using a model, researchers found that by removing derelict crab pots in high-density fishing areas, blue crab harvest could be increased across the Chesapeake Bay. 12-20% of traps are lost due to buoy cut offs. More than 40 species of fish are caught in derelict crab pots. There are an estimated 145,000 derelict crab pots in the Chesapeake Bay. 3.3 million blue crabs are killed annually in derelict crab pots. Targeted trap removal has been estimated to increase harvest by 38 million pounds, accounting for 23.8% of annual harvest. Over a six-year period target removal of derelict crab pots led to estimated gains of $33.5 million*. Ecological and Economic Effects of Derelict Fishing Gear in the Chesapeake Bay: 2015/2016 Final Assessment Report. Prepared for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Contract Award DG133E-10-CQ-0034 to Global Science & Technology, Inc. *Estimated figures were created using a statistical model over a six-year period from 2008-2014. Monetary values are in 2014 dollars.
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