Make a hatch that allows terrapins to escape from crab pots
Help prevent unnecessary deaths of diamondback terrapins and other animals in your crab pots. By simply attaching bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) to your crab pots, you can help preserve the diversity of animals within Chesapeake Bay for a healthier ecosystem, while still enjoying your blue-crab catch.
The Science of BRDs
There is a simple and low-cost way to prevent terrapins and other marine organisms—such as blue catfish, summer flounder, and striped bass—from getting into commercial-style crab pots. By attaching a bycatch reduction device (BRD) to each funnel opening, the majority of terrapins and other organism can be prevented from entering the pot. Studies have shown that while effective at preventing other animals from entering, BRDs have no impact on the size and number of blue crabs found in crab pots.
Scientists have determined that the most effective size for a BRD is 1 ¾" x 4 ¾". It can be made out of 11-gauge galvanized wire and a couple of hog rings, then attached within each funnel opening with plastic cable ties or more hog rings.
To make and install your own BRDs:
- follow the instructions below,
- download the instructions (pdf file), or
- purchase pre-made plastic BRDs.
Make Your Own BRDs
To make your own BRDs, you will need for each crab pot:
- 11-gauge galvanized wire - 4 pieces x 14 ¾" length
- 24 hog rings [(2 to form each BRD + 4 to attach BRD to pot) x4]
- Needle-nose pliers
- Wire cutters (optional)
- Take a single length of wire and, measuring from one end, mark at lengths 1 ¾", 6 ½", 8 ¼", and 13" from the end.
- Using the pliers, bend the wire to a 90° angle upward at each mark. The first and last lengths of 1 ¾" will overlap forming a rectangle of 1¾" x 4 ¾".
- Securely close the overlapping side with 2 hog rings.
- Repeat for remaining 3 lengths of wire.
To install on a crab pot, position one BRD within each funnel opening and securely fasten to funnel with 4 hog rings per BRD; 1 at each corner of the BRD.
Install BRDs on the funnel openings of your crab pots. Illustrations: