Thousands of fishing traps are lost or abandoned each year in United States waters, including the Florida Keys, but continue still to catch marine life such as spiny lobster.
These ghost, or derelict traps, result in the death of spiny lobsters and losses to habitat and fisheries. The losses also trickle down to watermen, according to a recently published National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study.
The study, which took place between 2007 and 2010, showed that each ghost trap in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary results in the deaths of 10 spiny lobsters a year. It did not give an exact number for the amount of such traps that currently reside on the Florida Keys sea floor and the possible financial impact on local fisheries.
The study stated that “once traps stop ghost fishing, they may remain intact for long periods of time before degrading.”
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