The commercial Dungeness crab season along the California coast is still on hold because of worries about a deadly toxin found in the crustaceans.
But some crab fishermen have been busy hauling in a different catch: lost crab gear.
Jennifer Renzullo is working with crab fishermen to recover the abandoned gear. She's with the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center.
"There's still high hopes that the fishery will be opened in the coming weeks," says Renzullo. "But even though the fishery was closed, the fishermen really seized this opportunity to get the gear out of the water, continue working."
One of those fishermen is Andy Guiliano from Emeryville. In the past three and a half months, Guiliano and other fishermen have collected 500 wicker traps used for crabbing called "pots." Guiliano says the recovered gear is sold back to the original owners.
"The cost to recover a pot is probably a third of what a new pot would cost," says Guiliano. "So the fishermen are happy to get the pots back and the industry is happy to have the gear out of the water."
Sometimes pots get stuck in the mud or just get lost. That can result in the death of marine animals and navigational problems.
Funding for the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project comes from grants. But fishermen are hoping state legislation will keep the program going.
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