GALLOWAY — With lines straining and creaking in the deck cleats, Warren and Karen Unkert circled the lost ghost traps with their boat. As the tension on the ropes build, the corpse of the stubborn crab pot finally lifts from the muck of the bay bottom.
There is now one less hazard to boaters and, for the time being, crabs.
"On the sonar you can actually see the pot. We'd mark it, go back, and Warren would tell me when to throw the hook," said Karen Unkert, standing among some 500 lost-and-found crab traps stacked alongside Nacote Creek, the harvest from this winter's crab-trap recovery project in Great Bay.
Commercial crab traps comes in various sizes, but nearly all are made of a metal frame with mesh wiring and have strategically placed holes to allow the crustaceans to crawl in, but not out. Trappers can drop dozens of traps at a time, marked by small buoys, and retrieve them days or weeks later.
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