Abandoned crab pots can be a serious issue in the Chesapeake Bay. As long as there is bait in them they will continue to catch crabs. A dead crab in an abandoned pot becomes bait.
But a recent article in The Sun refers to crab pots and crab traps interchangeably, and they are not the same thing ("Building a better crab trap," May 30). Traps are used primarily by recreational crabbers. It is a square trap made of wire such as chicken wire with bait such as salted eel tied inside. When it lands on the bottom the four sides are open. The crabber pulls on the line to raise it and the sides close, thus trapping the crabs inside.
A crab pot is used primarily by commercial crabbers. It is an entirely enclosed wire basket on which only one side opens. The bait is tied inside and the side is tied shut. Once inside, the crabs cannot escape because of the design of the pot. A pot will continue to catch crabs ad infinitum, as long as it has bait, which can be dead crabs.
There is no danger from abandoned traps because they're open on all sides. The pots constitute a danger because they're enclosed.
Clay Seeley, Owings MillsCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun