Discover what program leaders and participants have to say about the benefits of removing derelict fishing gear from U.S. coastal waters.
“The continuous loss of crab pots has a negative economic and ecological impact and employing watermen to remove lost pots can have a positive effect on the marine resources of the Chesapeake Bay and the Commonwealth. I have absolute faith that this program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science will produce meaningful research and solutions to keep our water resources clean.”—Virginia State Senator Monty Mason (2016-)
“I quit school in 5th grade to go to work for my father culling crabs and I’ve been on the water ever since. I had no idea that there were so many traps lost, thousands and thousands.”—Virginia waterman E.C. Hogge
“I can think of no better institution to tackle the issue of lost and abandoned pots than VIMS. This is a good thing for Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Nation.”—Molly Ward, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources during the administration of Terry McAuliffe (2014-2018)
“The problem of derelict pots is global and VIMS is perfectly positioned to use their expertise to help tackle the issue comprehensively and at the national level.”—Doug Domenech, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources during the administration of Gov. Bob McDonnell (2010-2014)
“The Virginia Institute of Marine Science is one of the nation's leaders on the issue of lost or abandoned traps, and this national program will result in tangible, beneficial impacts to coastal and marine habitats and communities in Virginia and nationwide.”—Preston Bryant, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources during the Administration of Gov. Tim Kaine (2006-2010)
Greg Goff, Jr.
“Reeds Bay is where I primarily fish and recovering these pots keeps me from running them over and fouling my engine. In addition, recovering these pots eliminates them from catching species from the bay and potentially killing them, including my target species of blue crabs.”—Gregg Goff Jr., New Jersey commercial crabber
“Hiring local fishermen is beneficial to both the fisherman and the state. We have a vast knowledge of the water and it also provides a supplemental income in the off season. Another huge benefit is the ability to return marine life the gear may contain back to the environment to help prevent a waste of the resources.”— Travis Whitener, North Carolina crabber and shrimper
"I run across lost pots all the time when I’m on the water. Removing these pots is a great idea and keeps them from continuing to kill crabs and fish.” – Craig Kelly, Maryland commercial crabber.
Captain Neill Holland
“Derelict fishing gear is one of the most pressing issues facing our shared national marine resources. The volume of bycatch our field teams observe in Florida and the Caribbean makes clear that the loss to coastal economies is highly significant. The good news is that all actors we’ve engaged have been receptive to our unique brand of community-led retrievals, and we’ve grown highly proficient in combining commercial and recreational anglers, private industry, and government to remove and recycle traps and gear."– Capt. Neill Holland, Ocean Aid 360, St. Petersburg, FL
“We have years of data from the Gulf of Maine and a focused effort to streamline and collate our findings with others will serve many more stakeholders and allow for a better grasp of the issue nationally.”—Laura Ludwig, Marine Debris and Plastics Program coordinator at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, MA