Lost Gear Recovery Project Removes Lost Fishing Gear From Monterey Bay

Skylar Campbell, F/V Sable with an overgrown crab trap he recovered. Buoys and rope are ideal substrates for algae and small invertebrates to attach too. From the surface it can become a navigational hazard, as it is challenging to identify from a distance.

Skylar Campbell, F/V Sable with an overgrown crab trap he recovered. Buoys and rope are ideal substrates for algae and small invertebrates to attach too. From the surface it can become a navigational hazard, as it is challenging to identify from a distance.

June 4, 2019

Monterey, CA– For the third year in a row, the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust is partnering with local fishermen and the boating community to find and remove lost Dungeness crab gear from the Bay. The project, which operates 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. 

“No one feels good about losing fishing gear. These are the tools we invest in to make our living,” said Skylar Campbell, Monterey fisherman and member of the Recovery Team. “Thousands of dollars and weeks of preparation go into one’s gear. The lost gear recovery project allows us to act on our best intentions as fishermen, helping remove gear to get it back to its owner and to leave the ocean as pristine as possible.”

Lost gear recovery projects have been implemented in various forms throughout California. In 2017, the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust (MBFT) piloted the project in Moss Landing, and in 2018 it was expanded into Moss Landing and Santa Cruz. The project is a collaborative community effort, with MBFT administering the program, boaters helping locate lost gear, fishermen recovering the gear, and harbor districts providing storage. 

“This is my second year of coordinating the program and I am continuously inspired by the dedication of members of the fishing community,” said Oliviya Wyse, Program Coordinator at the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust. “Although we partner with individual fishermen to recover the gear, other fishermen are regularly reaching out on their own accord to report found gear. That speaks volumes to the stewardship of this fishing community, and my hope is that this program can capture and highlight those attitudes and actions.”

The Dungeness crab season closed nearly three months early on April 15th, 2019. MBFT staff worked quickly to get this year’s program up and running. The program began May 1st and will run through September 1st. 

For anyone interested in helping identify the location of lost gear, contact the program coordinator, Oliviya Wyse, at (805) 801-0997.

Oliviya Wyse