Crab fishermen collect 481 lost pots

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COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon crab fishermen have recovered 481 lost pots from the ocean bottom and returned them to their owners.

Nick Furman of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission said Tuesday this is the first year the Oregon fleet has taken over the program started two years under a federal stimulus grant.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reports about 15,000 crab pots are lost each year -- 10 percent of the 150,000 pots put out by fishermen.

Furman says the $50 per pot finder's fee was enough to persuade fishermen to go out hunting for lost gear, which can foul whales and salmon fishing gear.

He adds that all the recovered pots had lines and floats attached -- apparently forgotten or blown out of position by storms.