Impact Assessment of Derelict Crab Pots in Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay – 2007

Conduct ground-truthed sonar survey to estimate derelict trap abundance and conduct field experiment to estimate impact on a per trap basis.


Project Abstract

The 2007 project built on previous efforts that identified significant derelict trap densities in the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay (MDCB).  This study implemented a side-scan sonar survey, using ground truthing by controlled detection testing and diver verification to estimate total derelict crab pots in the MDCB.  Results estimate a total of 84,567 traps derelict in the MDCB, based on a total of 285 side-scan sonar transects.  Another element of the project was the deployment of simulated derelict traps, which were placed and observed over all four seasons between October 18, 2006 and March 6, 2008, documenting species entry and escapement from traps, as well as degradation of the trap itself.  Results showed that both blue crab and other bycatch species were captured and killed by pot, and blue crab mortality was estimated at 20 crabs/trap/year.  This project was conducted in coordination with a companion study in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

NOAA Marine Debris Program Project

6/1/2007 to 6/30/2011

Status: Closed

Location: Mid-Atlantic, [Maryland]

Latitude/Longitude: 38.798071, -76.316789