Reducing Bycatch of At-Risk Wildlife in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey
Project Purpose:

As many as 490 Northern diamondback terrapins, as well as countless other marine species, may perish each day by becoming trapped in crab pots in Barnegat Bay. Removing thousands of these derelict crab pots will benefit the ecological quality of Barnegat Bay and will also reduce navigational hazards, impacts to human health, and fishery impacts. Providing outreach and educational efforts will prevent additional lost pots and further understanding of the bay’s habitat and wildlife.


Brief Description:

 

CWF and partners will identify, assess and remove over 1,000 derelict crab pots in Barnegat Bay over two seasons. We will establish a data evaluation system with the NJ Bureau of Marine Fisheries and a volunteer stewardship program to expand our project capacity. Finally, CWF will launch an outreach and education campaign to expand awareness among schools, residents and the fishing community.

 
Resource Values/Project Outputs:

 

This project will benefit Northern diamondback terrapins and commercial and recreational fishery resources including Blue crab, American eel (Catadromous species), Flounder spp., Black seabass, Atlantic croaker, White perch, Catfish, Spot, Tautog, Oyster toadfish, Whelks,
etc. Project outputs include: Retrieval of 1,000+ derelict crab pots and other derelict fishing gear; development of a derelict crab pot reporting system; prevention-method educational efforts for commercial and recreational fishermen, and educational outreach including presentations, in-classroom lessons and materials, brochures and decals associated with this project. We will also seek additional funding (beyond our CWRP request) to offer field trips to watershed school groups.


Cost:

 

The total cost of this project is $283,623.26. This includes $247,973.26 in existing funding through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This leaves $35,650 still needing to be funded: our $24,150 CWRP request and $11,500 in separate requests to other funders to provide field trips.

 

Schedule:

 

December 2015-June 2017. Our intensive project schedule begins this month, while we hope to launch our outreach and education efforts in early 2016. Our project will hold a major press event in February 2016 in conjunction with senior NOAA and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) staff.

 

Permit Status:

 

Yes, already issued by the NJ Bureau of Marine Fisheries.

 
List of Partners:

 

Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science, Monmouth University, and Stockton University are the primary partners. Other partners include the Bureau of Marine Fisheries, ReClam the Bay, local fishermen, and Cattus Island and Trader’s Cove Ocean County Parks, NFWF and Covanta Energy are providing additional project match.

 
What is requested from CWRP:

 

$24,150. Without this contribution, CWF will not be able to pursue the education and outreach components of this project, and will have to limit our scientific staff’s time on debris removal, volunteer stewardship, and data evaluation and analysis. Should we receive this funding, all of our related online and print materials will highlight CWRP’s generous support. In addition, we would invite CWRP to take part in our major press event in February 2016.

 

Point of Contact:

 

David Wheeler, 732-910-2063, david.wheeler@conservewildlifenj.org

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