Annual Marine Plunder Planned

Annual Marine Plunder Planned
An abandoned crab pot is pictured being removed from the bay last year. Submitted Photo

BERLIN – Citizens are invited to help Captain Jack Sparrow, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the Ocean Pines community plunder the bays in search of marine debris Sunday, May 15, from 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. for the 3rd 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 Ocean Pines White Horse Park Boat Ramp 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.

You must preregister for this event either online at the Maryland Coastal Bays Program website, or call Sandi at 410-213-2297, ext. 106 and register by phone. Registration is now open. There will be no registration at the event.

Thanks to a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the support of Worcester County, supplies will be provided for those who preregister (while supplies last). Supply packets can be picked up at Pure Lure in the West Ocean City Harbor at a pre-arranged date.

When participants bring their loot to the weigh-in, 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 our 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. This data will be used for an outreach campaign next year reminding visitors the importance of keeping local waterways clean.

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 in effect. It is illegal to tamper with any live traps.

The Natural Resource Police will attend the event in case participants have any questions as to what is marine debris, 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, 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.