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Old 08-04-2017, 10:56 AM   #1
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I hate this

So I decided to get away from the Miami are for a few weeks, last week we decided to visit the Keys. Had a beautiful trip down to Marathon at mostly trawler speeds and spent a number of nights at Faro Blanco a truly nice facility. Lobster mini season ended a few days before we arrived (good thing as that weekend it's a zoo in the Keys).

So we left the marina and the commercial lobsterman have set out their traps and there are zillions on them while we were at dock. I take my hat off to commercial fisherman as it's a hard life so I'm in their camp. BUT these guys put their traps with their floats right in the middle of the ICW which is perhaps 100 yards wide. So your trip becomes unpleasant because you are not using the auto pilot and your are constantly dodging the floats and the lines connecting to the trap. Granted the lines are fairly short so they don't extend more than a few feet from the trap. However many boats wrap these lines around their props and get cut off leaving ghost traps to continue to kill for many years.

I think it would make sense if Florida passed a law to restrict traps to outside 100 yards of the ICW. Granted the ICW is not well defined in some long stretches but all would benefit even the fisherman who would not loose expensive traps.

Rant off.
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:37 AM   #2
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In NJ, it is illegal to set traps in a marked channel.

I would think sheer losses of traps would prove it an unwise decision, but not so.

My suggestion is that if you can reasonably prove you caught a pot in the channel (pics of other pots in channel) the pot owner pays for your haul, $500 inconvenience fine to you and $1000 to enforcement of the law.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:05 PM   #3
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That would certainly discourage the setting of pots in the ICW unfortunately it would created the expense of a civil suit and no guarantee of winning in the local court. If it was state law it would be easier.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:21 PM   #4
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The traps are supposed to have "rot string" so trapped animals in a neglected trap can't trap them in there til death. Good luck with that.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:34 PM   #5
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I hate this

If there are legal restrictions to putting traps in a channel and you come across an illegally placed pot, pull it.

What is the owner going to do? Cause you of stealing a pot? I can see them now trying to file a complaint while describing exactly where the pot was located.

I have no experience with lobster pots, but crab pots a real navigation hazard here during the season. The difference is that in the South Sound there are few designated channels.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:37 PM   #6
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from FL website:

Lobster Traps
All lobster traps are required to have a degradable wood panel that will decay and stop the trap from ghost fishing.
90 percent of traps are made of all wood
8 percent are made of a combination of wood and wire mesh
1 percent are composed of mostly wire mesh
1 percent are plastic
However, the wood used in most traps is pressure-treated, and most traps are used 3-4 fishing seasons.
Trap Decay
Lost lobster traps ghost fish until they decay or break down enough that lobsters can escape (Butler & Matthews, 2015).
A new trap, if lost, ghost fishes for about 16 months.
Wire traps ghost fish for more than two years.
Bycatch
Lobster traps also catch some fish. For wood traps, most of these fish escape. Wire lobster traps catch 10 times more fish than wood traps.
Lobster Mortality
Trap loss is an economic concern for fishermen. When traps become lost, fishermen lose not only the cost of the trap, but also lose lobster that die in ghost traps. Lobster mortality caused by ghost fishing also impacts the ecological role that lobsters play in the environment.
Ghost traps killed on average 3-7 lobsters each year, depending on the trap's location.
An estimated 643,000 lobsters die in ghost traps each year.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:46 PM   #7
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I feel your pain. Two days ago while leaving Key West in the North West Channel there were hundreds of them.

I was threading my way between 2 and noticed a line on the surface right in front of us but 20 yards away from the floats! I don't know why they leave so much slack between the floats and the pot. I quickly pulled to idle/neutral but the line still caught on something and began to drag behind us. Now stopped in the rolling channel I had no choice but to cut the line. I didn't feel it was safe to attempt to go under the boat in those conditions. Luckily things seemed fine with the running gear once we drifted far enough away to give things a test. I still need to dive and check things out.

Now back in Ft. Myers and we found the same thing! The river here is full of floats (crabs?) and they don't much care where they drop them. At least the water is shallow and the lines are short enough to go straight down.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:48 PM   #8
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Certainly the FWC is aware of the traps if what is said is true. The question is why are the rules not enforced?

From MyFWC Commerical Fishing booklet...
http://myfwc.com/media/4209702/commercialregspub.pdf
Traps may be baited and placed in the water 10 days before the season begins. Stone crab traps are prohibited in all navigation channels of Inland Coastal Waterways or channels marked by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, USCG, state, county or local governments.

for lobsters....
" Traps may not be placed within 100 feet of the intercoastal waterway or any bridge or seawall"

So call them up and tell them what happened:

The Division of Law Enforcement (DLE)
The Division of Law Enforcement patrols Florida’s coastal waters to provide assistance to boaters and fishermen as well as to enforce Florida’s saltwater fishing and boating laws. FWC officers assist boaters who are in distress, provide advice and direction to those who are traveling Florida’s coastline and waterways, and may issue citations for violations of state and federal fishing, wildlife, and boating laws.
In emergencies or if state fisheries, wildlife. or boating laws are being violated, call 888-404-FWCC (3922) or for cell phone users throughout the state dial *FWC(*392) depending on your location, hail on VHF channel 16 or report violations via text message. Most cell phones allow users to send that text message directly to an email address. You can text Tip@MyFWC.com: standard usage fees
may apply.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigsfish View Post
Scott

That would certainly discourage the setting of pots in the ICW unfortunately it would created the expense of a civil suit and no guarantee of winning in the local court. If it was state law it would be easier.
Unfortunately everything has to wind up in court as there is little no honor left to enable an "adminustrative" process.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:43 PM   #10
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These pots are all wood, they were made of creosote wood but that was made illegal. Now they are untreated wood that certainly will still last for years.

I passed an FWC boat in the ICW and we were both dodging lobster pots. So much for enforcing that law. My dad got so pissed one year he bought a product called Spurs which would cut any line caught on his shafts, it worked fairly well and save him many trips under the boat.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigsfish View Post
These pots are all wood, they were made of creosote wood but that was made illegal. Now they are untreated wood that certainly will still last for years.

I passed an FWC boat in the ICW and we were both dodging lobster pots. So much for enforcing that law. My dad got so pissed one year he bought a product called Spurs which would cut any line caught on his shafts, it worked fairly well and save him many trips under the boat.
I would call them to complain and ask them to explain. It's their job.
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:12 PM   #12
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I guess you guys are just experiencing what we in the northeast, especially Maine, have lived with for as long as I can remember. Though, I must say the traps do seem to get more dense every year. Not only do they cover all in-shore navigable areas including channels, they even pop up miles out to sea, when you least expect them!!
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:16 PM   #13
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HW

I know a few of the FWC guys in the Keys, I really don't want any interaction with them when I'm on the water.
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:17 PM   #14
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" Not only do they cover all in-shore navigable areas including channels"

Frequently strung from in channel, from buoy to buoy to make them easier to find in fog.
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Old 08-04-2017, 04:41 PM   #15
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:02 PM   #16
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Channel out of Boston Harbor is full of leaky clorox and laundry soap bottles tied to the traps. Only an inch or two showing. Illegal but harbormaster has no interest in enforcing laws unless you are going 6mph in the 5mph zone.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:20 PM   #17
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When I see or hear of a bunch of crab pot floats as described it reminds me of a land clearing project i was involved in in Africa. Brush and small trees were cleared by 2 Cat D-8s, each connected to the opposite end of a ship anchor chain about 100' long. They would run parallel through the bush the heavy chain knocking down all the scrub and medium to small trees which would then be pushed into piles for burning.
For crab trap pots I can see two tugboats, pulling a cable between them, collecting all the illegally placed traps.
The local shrimpers have a custom here, when they "catch" crab traps in their nets they stomp them flat and they throw them on the bank, where they leave them as a "warning".
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:04 PM   #18
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When I had Possum built in Maine I had the builder install spurs. The builder didn't think it would make me popular with the locals. I explained that I would never deliberately cut a trap line but if one accidentally got tangled it my prop it was going to get cut one way or another. Might as well let the Spurs do it. They do work. I know of two occasions in the last 29 years when I've hit lines. Never been stopped.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:01 AM   #19
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Mostly posting to push the Korean trolls off the recent posts list.

But I agree, damn crab/lobster pots put into channels are a PITA. Maybe all pots should be required to have a microchip embedded with the owners name. Big fine, no REALLY BIG fines, for those who place them in banned locations or 'forget' to collect them and leave them to make ghost catches for months or years.
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Old 08-05-2017, 07:20 AM   #20
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Parks

When they were new they did work good. I remember when my dad picked up a long line on a trap and I watch the float run right up to the boat until the line was cut, and watched it float away.

However after a number of years the two blades separated and the cutting was not as sure.
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