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Fish MARINE RESOURCES
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Dungeness crab
Dungeness crab
Commercial Crab Pots

 

Anatomy of a commercial crab pot

The structure of a crab pot is steel (wrapped in rubber to minimize handling difficulty) and surrounded by a stainless steel mesh. Pots are constructed in a way to facilitate practical use while minimizing its impact.

crab pot
Anatomy of a commercial crab pot
-Photo by the Oregon State Police-

Line :Line is nylon and is weighted at regular intervals to keep it directed in a straight line.

Bait box: Smaller bait such as clams, herring, or squid is placed inside the bait box which crabs can usually only smell and not feed on. Larger bait or "hanging bait" such as fish carcasses is hung from the middle of the pot.

Marker buoys: Multiple buoys are often used for extra flotation and identification; they are assigned specific “brand” numbers and are often colored with a specific pattern to aid in identification at sea.

Cotton twine: Cotton twine used in commercial crab pots is designed to rot and disintegrate in a period of 45 days. Regulations requires a modification of the wire mesh on the top or side of pot, secured with a single strand of 120 thread size untreated cotton, which when removed will create an opening 5 inches in diameter. Other less common alternatives to this set up include using the same twine as a hook strap, and other arrangements with mild steel.

This regulation ensures that lost gear will release trapped crabs and not continue to "ghost fish" once lost.

Zinc: Fisherman install ingots of zinc on their pots to absorb free electrons thus impeding the salt water corrosion on the steel structure of the trap.

Escape ports: All commercial pots are required to have a minimum of 2 escape ports of at least 4 ¼" (inside diameter) on the top or side (upper half only). This regulation is derived from measurement studies on Dungeness crab that show that nearly 100% of crab larger than legal size (6 ¼" across carapace) are less than 4 ¼" from front to back. It thereby allows most sub-legal crab to simply walk out.

Entry port: This is where the crabs come in. It allows an opening large enough to accommodate the largest of Dungeness crab. The entry port is one way, there is a hinge that prevents exit. As in this example, fishermen often paint their entry port to identify their pots when stacked. When used in other crab fisheries, such as box crab which are larger it often needs to be adjusted.

Lid strap hook: This hook makes opening and closing the pot easy when clearing hoisted pots, it is generally attached with rubber. Pot tag: Tags are required that identify the owner or the vessel.

Buoy Tags
Buoy Tags

 

Buoy Tags

Buoy tags are now required as a part of the newly implemented Pot Limit program.  Each crab permit is allocated a specific number of buoy tags (200, 300, or 500).  Each pot fished must have a buoy tag attached to the main buoy (first set from pot).

 

Contacts

Kelly Corbett - Marine Resources Program, Newport
Phone: (541) 867-4741
E-mail: Kelly.C.Corbett@state.or.us


Troy Buell - Marine Resources Program, Newport
Phone: (541) 867-4741
E-mail: Troy.V.Buell@state.or.us

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