Virginia watermen have removed more than 28,000 "ghost" crab pots from the Chesapeake Bay watershed over the past three years as part of a federal and state effort to restore the crab population.
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science announced the results Friday, saying the program provided clear economic and environmental benefits.
Virginia received $15 million from the federal government in 2008 to restore the crab population. The state set aside another $3.5 million to remove the "ghost," or abandoned, crab pots that continued to catch and kill crabs.
The state outfitted 70 watermen, many of whom were unemployed
because the state canceled the winter dredge season, with sonar
equipment to find the pots over the winter months. They were paid
$300 per day plus fuel costs.
The traps picked up through mid-March captured more than 11,000 animals, including thousands of crabs.
©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.