PORT TOWNSEND, Washington — Over 12,000 crab pots are lost in Washington state's Puget Sound every year, costing an estimated $700,000 in lost harvest revenue, and more poignantly, damaging the sea floor environment. Using sonar to find the pots, divers and scientists venture into the waters to clean up and learn why pots are lost.
Recreational and commercial crabbing in Washington's inland waters is a popular pastime and an important seafood industry. But thousands of crab pots are lost every year, abandoned on the sea floor. The lost pots continue to attract Dungeness and red-rock crabs for up two years, trapping them until they die. The dead crabs then attract more crabs. "It just keeps on self-baiting itself," said Joan Drinkwin, programs director at the Northwest Straits Foundation, which spearheaded the crab pot cleanup project a decade ago.
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