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Marine Debris Program Supports Makah Tribe’s Derelict Crab Pot Removal Project

OCTOBER 12, 2018 — On September 21, Nir Barnea, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator, met with project managers for the Makah Tribe to review the Tribe’s new derelict crab pot removal project.

Two people standing on a dock, next to a vessel.
Joe Petersen and Katie Wrubel, project managers for the Makah Tribe, standing by the Tribal Natural Resources Enforcement vessel. Image credit: NOAA.

The project, supported by the NOAA Marine Debris Program, has three main objectives: remove up to 100 derelict pots and an additional 150 lines; develop a self-sustaining Tribal reporting and recovery program; and conduct outreach to Makah Tribal fishers and the community.

The removal of derelict pots and lines has a number of benefits. It reduces the ghost fishing of crabs and other species, and it lessens the risk of marine mammal entanglement. Additionally, it promotes the opening of salmon fishing grounds, now unavailable due to gear conflict from the high density of derelict crab pots.  

The project is off to a good start! Project staff conducted an aerial survey from a fixed-wing aircraft to locate lost gear. Using this information, they removed ten derelict pots in partnership with Tribal Natural Resources Enforcement, which provided a vessel. The team is planning to continue this effort over the next two years.

For more information, please contact

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Two people on a boat with a crab pot.
Derelict crab pot removal. Image credit: Makah Tribe.
Last updated Friday, June 14, 2019 2:52pm PDT