Lewes - A February study of a one hundred acre segment of the Rehoboth Bay located 160 derelict crab pots, approximately 1.6 pots per acre. The data from the study was presented on Friday to the Delaware Center For The Inland Bays. Up to 20 percent of all pots used in a year end up abandoned. Storms and loss of buoys are primary causes of derelict pots.
"Because blue crabs are cannibalistic they will continue to attract other blue crabs into those pots," Sea Grant Coastal Ecologist Kate Fleming told WRDE. "It creates a cycle of mortality that we know can have economic and ecological consequences." Fleming recommends not placing crab pots where a high level of boating traffic occurs and to ensure the trap's lines are long enough not to be effected by high tide.
The survey team utilized a low-cost technique called side-scan sonar to scan portions of the bay and monitor the conditions and content of the crab pots.