Commercial crab fishing – why so much trash in the sea?

Click the above text “Commercial crab fishing – why so much trash in the sea?” to see this entire post.

For the past decade I’ve picked up many thousands of crab trap buoys off the beaches of the Marin coast. Many times that of broken bits and pieces of the same buoys. Miles (and hundreds of pounds) of plastic rope, untangled from piles of bull kelp, colied and packed miles off the beaches. Hundreds of plastic bait containers and gallon bleach jugs and other bits and pieces of toxic trash lost or dumped by the commercial (and sport) crab fishing fleet that works the waters off the nutrient rich waters north of the Golden Gate.

While all crab fishermen lose gear each year, some more than others. Not all of them are ignorant of the problem all this plastic poses to the very sea they attempt to make a living from. I know one fellow in particular who does his very best to not lose any gear, as well as to educate his fellow fishermen on how to be a steward of the sea.

I’ve asked him if he could get the fishermen to walk the local beaches as I do and help pick up all the garbage their efforts curse the sea and coast with. “I’ve asked the fishermen’s association to do beach cleanups Richard, more than once. And you know what they say to me? No.”

Is this the attitude of a steward?

What if consumers said no to crab?

The Department of Fish & Wildlife appears to oversee more than one group that feels entitled to exploit public waters for profit, and often make a mess in the process. Then expect the public to clean up after them.

Will DFW ever work as hard protecting the environment from their lessees as they do in promoting extractive (destructive) industries?

I urge the fishermen of California (and Oregon) who work the magnificent waters off our shore to re-double their efforts in becoming authentic stewards of the sea as they harvest their bounty.

At the current rate of more than 8 million metric tons of plastic dumped into the ocean globally each year (and growing), by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean (by mass) than fish. We can and MUST do a better job of protecting our planet.

Below are some images showing a tiny fraction of the crab gear I have packed off Marin beaches.

As always, click on the image to see a larger version.
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More crab gear removed from beaches in years gone by

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Click on image for bigger picture – Should the price of crab reflect the cost to the planet?

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One thought on “Commercial crab fishing – why so much trash in the sea?

  1. Richard, you are amazing and your point about being good stewards hits the mark. Why would anyone with a vested interest in harvesting from our oceans not want to safeguard their means of earning a living?

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