NOAA, Makah Tribe Remove Derelict Crab Pots in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
The NOAA Marine Debris Program works with indigenous communities in stewardship efforts that help to understand and reduce the impacts of marine debris. One such project, with the Makah Tribe, focused on the removal of derelict fishing gear within the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, along the northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state and the Makah Tribe’s Usual and Accustomed Fishing Area.
The Makah Tribe Fisheries Management, in collaboration with the Makah Resource Enforcement, has completed a project to locate and remove derelict crab pots. Initial plans to use a fixed-wing aircraft to identify and locate derelict crab pots proved unsuccessful. As a result, the Makah Tribe partnered with tribal fishermen to crowdsource information on the location of lost crab pots within the project area.
The location of the derelict pots were mapped and crews worked to recover crab pots by securing the line the pots were attached to and pulling them aboard using a mechanical winch, as a crabber would recover their active fishing gear. If located crab pots were buried too deeply in the sediments to be removed, their float lines were cut to eliminate the risk of wildlife entanglement.
This project resulted in the removal of approximately 7,000 lb. of pots and lines, as well as two drift nets.
The Makah Tribe is also a participant in the Washington Marine Debris Action Plan, which this project supports.