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  #1  
Old 06-14-2008
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Got Trapped!! What would you do?

We snagged a friggin' lobster pot today in a Nav channel, albeit on the edge.

So I did a sailnet search and found this Thread. So I thought about diving, but didn't think I had my wetsuit and the water is still in the mid fifties. I had no fins or goggles either. So after a few unsuccessful attempts to locate the buoy against the hull, I managed to hook the dragging line only after hanging upside down and reaching down with my extended book hook. I could barely pull the line up and as I was doing so actually pulling the boat backwards against a pretty strong current. So while I held the line with both hands, my wife cut it.

As soon as she cut the line, I couldn't hold anymore and let it fly. The boat accelerated and a few boat lengths later the buoy popped up. We picked it up and brought it on board. It has a number on it so it could be traced.

Most of me wants to trace the number, contact the owner, and repay him for the trap. But, I wouldn't pay for a string of pots. The other part of me says too bad, you shouldn't have put the pot in the nav channel to begin with.

Opinions?

DrB
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Old 06-14-2008
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If it was within a marked channel, then no, I wouldn't worry about it. It has been my experience, that often times, you just can't see the bouys. Whether due to color, water state, or angle of light. To me, if you place something within navigatable waters, whether a marked channel or otherwise, then you have to accept that you may lose some. I can't imagine that anyone WANTS to snag a trap, so doing so is an accident that isn't really of the boaters making.
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Old 06-14-2008
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I don't know. It will be interesting to see what people's opinions are on it, or even better, what the rules actually are regarding that kind of thing.
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Old 06-14-2008
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I can't add to the previous thread you've already read. You've done your homework, and this was an accident, in a nav. channel, where the pot shouldn't've been.
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Old 06-14-2008
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Dr. B,

I think it's our call on this one. Lobstermen are hard working people. A pot w/ line and bouy probably runs close to $100. Given the cost of diesel these days, it probably takes a lot of pounds in the tote to pay for the cost of losing a pot. Lobstermen earn their living on the water, we play on it. So we should be sympathetic and avoid engaging their gear for their good and ours. That said, you're right that when a lobsterman puts his gear in a channel it does mitigate the liability of those who are unfortunate enough to run into it. A fisherman puts his gear in the wrong place is taking a risk. When he loses it, its a cost of doing business.

My philosophy has always been to: 1) avoid hitting them (really hard to do some places, esp. in Maine) by keeping a sharp lookout, and 2) if you get one, try to save the lobsterman's gear, if at all possible. If you were conscientious in doing both of these things and the gear was lost anyway, I'd forget about it.

But as I said, it's your call.
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Old 06-14-2008
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That is why the lobsterman has insurance. There are many ways a fisherman can make his gear visible and quite safe from other mariners. This guy failed.
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Old 06-15-2008
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IMHO, if the buoy was in a marked channel, even on the edge of it, I think the owner is taking a risk of losing it, since many powerboats have line cutters on their prop shafts. If they put the buoys where they're likely to get run over...then the risk of losing them is part of their decision.

Two seasons ago, I did much what DrB did, and ended up dragging a lobsterpot and buoy over a nautical mile. We weren't sure we had snagged it, and we were still doing over five knots under sail. However, when we furled the genny....the damn buoy popped up.

My response also partially depends on whether it is a commercial pot or a recreational pot. If it is a recreational pot....too damn bad...they shouldn't be putting the damn things in the channel. Most of the commercial lobster pots are laid out in strings and have buoys on both ends...so I generally don't worry much about having had to remove the buoy in that case, but will try to re-attach the buoy if possible. Even though the commercial guys usually have more sense than to put a string in a channel.... they're trying to make a living, and I have a bit more sympathy for them.
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Old 06-15-2008
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You did not mention if you were motoring or sailing...The reason I ask is.

We have a law in Washington that all pots no mater what kind HAVE to be attached to their respective flote with leaded line....its harder to snag one thus attached...we still have idiots using floating poly line around here and the devil still in me wants to cut any and all I see loose..( havent done it yet ) but if thats the type line you got tangled in I wouldn't give it a second thought...In fact Id report him..
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Old 06-15-2008
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Are lost lobster pots like other fish traps that when lost, continue to kill until they eventually decay?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therapy23 View Post
Are lost lobster pots like other fish traps that when lost, continue to kill until they eventually decay?
They are baited, so I don't know what a lobster does once the bait is gone, but I doubt it is nearly as motivated to wander in if there is clearly no food there. I would imagine the threat to lobsters then becomes the equivalent to some odd shaped rock crevasse that they can slip into but then can't find their way out of. Interesting question though ...
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