Watch these divers scour a Maine harbor for ghost gear

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BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine — Divers with a nonprofit marine education and community organization OceansWide search for ghost gear in Boothbay Harbor this week.

Ghost gear is what anglers call lost or abandoned fishing gear, ropes, and other related trash that sits on the ocean floor. It often consists of metal lobster traps that have somehow separated from their floating buoys above – either in bad weather or by boat propellers cutting the line.

A typical Maine lobster boater expects to lose about 10% of their traps each year. With over 4,000 licensed lobster fishers fishing over 800 traps each, it adds up quickly. Some estimate that there are up to 30,000 traps lost each year in local waters.

This scenario points to millions of ghost gear traps laying at the bottom of the Gulf of Maine.

OceansWide divers hope to reduce this number. Last year, they pulled over 1,000 lockers out of Boothbay Harbor alone. They are trying to double that number this year.

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in news outlets around the world. More Troy R. Bennett

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