Tangled web of traps recovered off coast of Owls Head Light[Click here to read full article and view more photos: Source]
Coast Guard, Marine Patrol, lobstermen work to raise cluster of traps
By Kelly Michaud
A tangle of nearly 50 lobster traps was hauled from the ocean’s bottom Wednesday, about four miles south of Owls Head Light.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Abbie Burgess, Maine Marine Patrol officers and a pair of local lobster fishermen joined forces to try and recover two large clusters of traps, which were about 350 feet below the water’s surface, on the ocean floor. One small cluster was brought on board the cutter; however the larger cluster, believed to contain at least 100 traps, could not be recovered.
The Abbie Burgess crew first worked to bring up the large cluster, but after dragging several buoys on board, it was discovered that one line was connected to the big ball of traps, [Abbie Burgess Commanding Officer Paul] Dilger explained.
Petty Officer Second Class Kevin Stancliff throws a lobster overboard Wednesday. Lobsters found in the traps, except legal lobsters caught in traps belonging to the two lobstermen on board, were returned to the sea.
“We hooked onto it but couldn’t take the weight of the huge number of traps on the bottom,” Dilger said.
The cluster sank, but they made note of its location before moving onto a second cluster, which they hoped was attached to the first. The second cluster was brought onboard and contained 47 traps.
After securing the second cluster on board, the cutter returned to the original spot and the crew used a giant grapnel hook to drag the bottom, in search of the first cluster. After an hour and a half of searching, the Abbie Burgess returned to Rockland without it.
“There’s always next time,” Dilger said.
Photo by Kelly Michaud.