OCEAN CITY — The Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) this week is again reminding recreational crabbers to utilize by-catch reduction devices on their traps after a dead river otter was recovered from a crab pot last weekend.
An abandoned crab pot found near a marsh last weekend did include a few crabs, but also contained a grim surprise. The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) last weekend received a call from a concerned resident who noticed an abandoned crab pot that appeared to contain something suspicious. An OCPD Animal Control officer responded to the call, pulled the crab pot from the marsh and discovered a young river otter had apparently entered the pot seeking food, could not get back out and drowned.
The grim discovery led to the MCBP this week re-issuing a reminder to recreational crabbers to include by-catch reduction devices (BRDs), sometimes called turtle excluder devices (TEDs) on their crab pots. The device is a simple metal or plastic piece that is installed at each entrance of the crab pot that allows crabs to enter and be retained, while preventing larger animals such as river otters and terrapins, for example, from entering the traps. Last summer, a single abandoned crab pot pulled from Assawoman Bay contained over 20 dead terrapins.