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VIMS to lead national program for managing derelict fishing gear

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has chosen William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science as home base for a new national program focused on protecting U.S. coastal waters from derelict fishing gear.

Derelict gear refers to fishing equipment that has been lost, abandoned or otherwise discarded in the water, commonly due to storms and boat traffic. It can harm ecosystems and economies by trapping and killing targeted and bycatch species, damaging marine habitats and competing with actively fished gear.

VIMS’s new Nationwide Fishing TRAP Program—Trap Removal, Assessment and Prevention—will fund removal of the pots and traps used to harvest crabs and lobsters, and establish a Derelict Trap Policy Innovation Lab to synthesize the collected data to inform prevention and mitigation policies at the state and federal levels.

Created by Drs. Kirk Havens, Donna Bilkovic and Andrew Scheld, the TRAP program builds on VIMS’s success in leading a multi-year par...

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