Home > Explore Data & Reports > A pilot study to determine the movements of buoy line used in the crab pot fishery to assess bottlenose dolphin entanglement


McFee, W.E., Burdett, L.G. and L.A. Beddia. 2006. A pilot study to determine the movements of buoy line used in the crab pot fishery to assess bottlenose dolphin entanglement. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 34. Charleston, SC. 35 pp.

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NOAA Technical Memorandum

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A pilot study on the characteristics of crab pot buoy line movements to assess bottlenose dolphin entanglement was conducted from 19 September to 30 September 2005 in the Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina. The objectives of this study were to determine: 1) the movements of the buoy line in the water at various tidal stages, current strengths, lengths of line, and water depth, 2) if lead-core rope was a better alternative to nylon rope, 3) and if the manner of deployment of the gear affected the suspension of the line in the water and on the bottom. Diamond braided nylon (#10) rope of varying length (20 ft. - 80 ft.) were used during 31 trials and stiffened (polypropylene lead-core) rope was used in four trials. Observations of the buoy line movements were captured with an Atlantis underwater camera attached to a Digital DPC-1000 video recorder. Results from this study showed that: 1) the method used for deployment was important in keeping the buoy line from arcing or coiling, 2) little to no arcing occurred in water current velocities of >0.20 m/s, 3) rope lengths of ≥50 ft. deployed in <10 ft. of water produced waving in the water column and arcing on the bottom, 4) slack tide was a period of increased risk of entanglement for bottlenose dolphins, and 5) poly lead-core rope was not a good alternative to nylon rope unless in deep water with strong water current velocities. This pilot study produced questions that can be used for future studies on the characteristics of buoy line movements in the crab pot fishery as it relates to bottlenose dolphin entanglements.

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