Testing of Gear Modification for Blue Crab Traps in the Chesapeake Bay – 2007

Develop and test gear modifications for blue crab traps in the Chesapeake Bay to reduce mortality

Project Abstract

The project, conducted by researchers at the Virginia Institute for Marine Science, developed and tested gear modifications on blue crab traps in the Chesapeake Bay to ultimately reduce fish and shellfish mortality should traps become derelict. Specifically, the project aimed to:

  1. Develop various gear modification on crab traps to reduce the catch efficiency once they come derelict.
  2. Test time to dissolution for degradable gear modifications.
  3. Test escape efficiency of crabs for various gear modifications.

Project outcomes included crab escapement estimates for modified and un-modified pots, and durability estimates for the degradable materials (both degradable cull rings and rot cord made of cotton) which varied across salinity regimes. The degradable plastic cull ring panels were able to remain functional for the required 8 month fishing season. Formulas for specific time of decomposition can be tailored for specific fishing season lengths.

NOAA Marine Debris Program Project

10/1/2007 to 9/30/2008

Status: Closed

Location: Mid-Atlantic, [Virginia]

Latitude/Longitude: 37.248566, -76.499787