Mystery object explained! And a call to all Seanetters.

13 01 2011

First off, the call! SEANET has been invited to participate in a course at Tufts University entitled “One Health: Interdisciplinary Approaches to People, Animals and the Environment.” The course brings together students from various disciplines with faculty from the main campus, the School of Medicine, and the School of Veterinary Medicine to tackle challenges and questions facing all the planet’s inhabitants in the face of unprecedented global changes. Novel problems require novel solutions, and the course faculty want to highlight the utility of citizen science–hence, SEANET!

The students will be taking a field trip on Tuesday, April 12, meeting on a Boston area beach–potentially in Revere–for a late afternoon/evening SEANET experience. We would love to have as many SEANET volunteers as possible join us to give the students first hand reports of how citizen science works for you, why you got involved, and what you’ve learned. We’ll be planting some bird corpses on the beach to demonstrate data recording as well. Julie and I will both be in attendance, as will my two sons, which should serve as a warning to anyone considering attending.

If you think you’d be able to join us, please contact me so I can keep you posted on details as the date approaches.

And now, to reveal the identity of this week’s mystery object. Libby Rock sent an email with her astute thoughts, pointing out that the alphanumeric code is reminiscent of boat registrations. She also wrote, “And the other letters, maybe the initials of the fishing boat? Their gear tends to be marked that way. So I’m hazarding: a piece of something from a fishing boat, and based on shape, maybe the plastic flap to cover a plastic box? The kind that is used to hold bait or chum or lobsters or a whole lot of dead skates?”

Mystery object: the vent from a lobster trap (see lower right).

Correct, this item did come from fishing boat. Specifically, a lobstering boat. The object is the vent on a lobster trap, which allows undersized lobsters and other non-target marine life to escape.

Parts of lobster traps, whole traps, and buoys are common findings on Northeast beaches. Seanetters should be aware that in most states, it is against the law to remove any part of a trap or a buoy from the beach. Lobstermen generally will reclaim whole traps, even if damaged, since new traps can run them up to $85 a piece. There are also some programs in place that allow participants to remove traps and related debris from the beach for recycling. One of these is the NH Marine Debris to Energy Program, here in your SEANET blogger’s home state. Their Spring trap cleanup generated 25 tons of traps for recycling!





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