• Rig crab pots with cotton Escape Cord
If your pot is lost, biodegradable cotton cord will degrade and break after about a year. This lets the emergency escape hatch open and the pot will stop fishing. It’s been estimated that 12,000 crab pots are lost in Puget Sound each year. If each lost pot catches and kills just 15 crab each year, that’s 180,000 crab that should have been harvested and eaten.
• Use Weighted Line
Unweighted lines float on the surface and will likey be cut by the propellers of passing boats. If that happens, say good bye to that pot.
• Know the Water Depth
The easiest way to lose a pot is to toss it overboard in water that is too deep for the length of your line. Use nautical charts and a depth finder to assess water depths.
• Use More Line
Use a weighted line that is 50’ longer than the water depth you are crabbing. High tide can be more than 15’ higher than low tide! If your line is exactly the depth of the water and you come back when the water is 15 feet deeper...well, it’ll be tough to find your pot when the buoy is underwater.
• Watched Pots Never Roam
Stay by your crab pots and you are likely to come back with all of them at the end of the day.
If you leave your pots unattended, keep in mind the direction of the ebb/flow current. Big tidal shifts can carry lighter pots as much as a ¼ mile.
• No-Fault Reporting of Lost Pots
The Northwest Straits and local Marine Resources Committees have a program that retrieves lost gear. To aid their removal efforts, they have a no-fault online report form where you can report lost gear: www.derelictgeardb.org/reportgear.aspx or phone in your info: (360) 733-1725