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MOREHEAD CITY – Fishermen are reminded all crab pots must be removed from North Carolina coastal waters from Jan. 15 – Feb. 7.

Each year, fishermen are required to take their crab pots ashore so the state Marine Patrol can remove all abandoned gear from Tar Heel coastal waters. In 2005, officers collected 2,735 abandoned pots during the clean-up period. They removed 7,703 pots in 2004.

The Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan, updated in 2004, recommended the clean-up period be extended an additional nine days, from the original Jan. 25 - Feb. 7 closure. This is the first year the extended clean-up period has gone into effect. To learn more about the Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan, visit http://www.ncdmf.net/fmps/index.html.

Blue crabs continue to be North Carolina’s most profitable fishery. In 2004, the latest year statistics are available; fishermen harvested 34.1 million pounds of crabs, valued at $24.4 million. That same year, fishermen reported taking 81,104 commercial fishing trips using crab pots.

To report abandoned crab pots or for more information on this closure, contact Col. Joe Lynch by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling 800-682-2632 or 252-726-7021.
 
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