NBC's Nightly News has recognized the Virginia Institute of Marine Science's partnership with local watermen to remove "ghost" crab pots from Chesapeake Bay in a video produced by reporter Katie Walls.
The 3-minute video—shot on VIMS' campus in Gloucester Point and local waters—features Dr. Kirk Havens of VIMS, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech, and local watermen E.C. Hogge and Richard Green.
The ghost-pot removal program was the first, and is the largest, marine debris removal program of its kind in the country. It combines 21st-century technology with the ingenuity and work ethic of Virginia’s commercial watermen.
The program, funded by NOAA through the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and administered by VIMS, pays watermen to use side-imaging sonar units to detect and retrieve lost or abandoned crab pots and other marine debris that litter the Bay floor. These derelict pots can continue to capture and kill animals for several years depending on salinity and wave climate.
The program, now in its fourth year, has retrieved more than 32,000 ghost pots from Virginia's Chesapeake Bay waters, and another 6,000 pots from Maryland. The Virginia pots had inadvertantly captured 31,604 "bycatch" animals, including 25,338 blue crabs.