Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Marine Pollution Bulletin
Pot fisheries occur worldwide with a significant proportion of the gear becoming derelict. Derelict pots induce detrimental ecological and economic impacts, and more recently were found to reduce blue crab harvests in the Chesapeake Bay commercial fishery. We simulated the presence of derelict pots near actively fished pots in seasonal field experiments to quantify the effect derelict pots have on blue crab harvest. Derelict pots reduced harvests by 30% during the summer, but not during the fall. Female blue crab capture rates were consistently lower when derelict pots were present; while capture rates of the less abundant males were not negatively affected by derelict pots. Variable responses to derelict pots may be due to seasonal differences in female and male blue crab behavior and movements. The costly effect that derelict pots have on harvest should be investigated in other pot fisheries to recognize the magnitude and mechanisms behind these impacts.
Blue crab, derelict fishing gear, Chesapeake Bay, commercial fishery, marine debris
Accepted manuscript version.
DelBene, James A.; Bilkovic, Donna M.; and Scheld, Andrew M., Examining derelict pot impacts on harvest in a commercial blue crab Callinectes sapidus fishery (2019). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 139, 150-156.