For the second year in a row, the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust will be teaming up with local fishermen and the boating community to find and remove lost Dungeness crab gear from the Bay. The project, which will operate out of Monterey, Moss Landing, and Santa Cruz, aims to keep the ocean free of marine debris and reduce the risk of entanglements with boats and marine life.
“We are a small community of fishermen here in Monterey Bay, and it’s important to us that we keep our backyard clean,” said David Toriumi, Santa Cruz fisherman and member of the Recovery Team. “Gear can get lost as a result of bad weather and strong currents and it can drift in from far away. We are working to get it off the water as soon as possible.”
Lost gear recovery projects have been implemented in various forms throughout California over the past several years as a way to remove lost and abandoned gear from the ocean. Last year, the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust launched a pilot test out of Moss Landing, with support from The Nature Conservancy. The project was a success, driving the Trust to expand into all three ports in 2018 to cover a broader range of the Bay.
“This is a broad effort, with the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust coordinating the logistics of fishermen retrieving the gear, and using whale watchers, research vessels, sport and commercial fishermen and other boaters to help locate lost gear,” said David Crabbe, President of the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust. “In addition, the harbor districts are donating space to store the gear. We are really fortunate to have such a strong fishing community committed to protecting the Bay.”
The Dungeness crab season ended on June 30th, and the project will run from July 16th to August 3rd. This will be an intense, two-week effort to remove any remaining gear from the Bay, but the team will continue to help collect gear found after this date.
How can you help?
If you are interested in helping identify the location of lost gear, contact the program coordinator, Oliviya Wyse, at (805) 801-0997.
Help keep the Lost Gear Recovery project going year-to-year by making a tax deductible donation to the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust.
Learn more about how California Dungeness crab fishermen are working to reduce risks of entanglements by visiting: www.opc.ca.gov/whale-entanglement-working-group/