BERLIN — The Maryland Coastal Bays Program will canvas the bays in search of marine debris Sunday, Sept. 26, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. for the Second Annual Marine Debris Plunder.
Boaters and land lubbers alike are encouraged to join the plunder to pick up debris that has been carelessly discarded in the bays, beaches and streets and bring their loot to the West Ocean City Harbor for a weigh-in. Captain Jack Sparrow, along with his pirate crew, will be on hand to assist with the weigh-in and properly dispose the debris. There will be awards for several categories.
You must preregister for this event either online at the Maryland Coastal Bays Program website www.mdcoastalbays.org, or call Sandi at 443-783-5293 ext. 106 and register by phone. Registration will close on Friday, Sept. 24. There will be no registration at the event.
Thanks to a grant from Keep Maryland Beautiful and sponsorships by Pure Lure and Bluewater Properties, supplies will be provided for those who preregister (while supplies last) and supply packets can be picked up at Pure Lure at a pre-arranged date.
When participants bring their loot to the West Ocean City harbor, the pirate crew will grab their trash and present them with an event T-shirt (while supplies last).
The intent of this event is to engage the community in picking up debris in the waterways and streets and bringing it to one location where it will be weighed and disposed of properly. All participants will be asked to fill out data sheets on the debris.
Boaters pursuing debris in the water will receive specific instructions as to what is marine debris and what is a live trap as crabbing season is still in effect and it is illegal to tamper with any live traps.
The Natural Resources Police will attend the event in case participants have any questions as to what marine debris is, and what is not, in case something is unclear to a participant.
Boaters will be encouraged to pursue abandoned crab pots, derelict crab pots that have been clearly abandoned and are sitting in shallow water and marshes. Every year crabbers lose their pots to careless boaters who do not pay attention and run over crab pot floats identifying pot location. Once these floats are cut, the pot becomes untraceable until it washes into shallow water or on top of a marsh. Unfortunately, ghost pots continually re-bait as crabs crawl inside, eventually die, and new crabs arrive to eat those. These ghost pots also trap and kill pretty much anything that fits, including terrapin, otter and fish.