What is the history behind the name "ghost pot"? Why is it called "ghost pot"?

First, what is a ghost pot?

Also known as a derelict crab trap, a ghost pot is a crab pot that has lost its float and cannot be recovered by its owner.


I surmised three possibilities.

  1. Ghost is wandering and haunting. The ghost pot is also wandering around.

  2. Ghost is someone who is dead. The ghost pot is a pot which is dead because it cannot be used.

  3. Ghost is scary. The ghost pot causes harm to marshes.

  • 1
    It's there but can't be seen by humans? Dec 11 '19 at 12:51
  • So what is your question?
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 11 '19 at 12:54
  • How would losing the buoy cause the trap to wander about? I believe crab pots are weighted so they sink to the bottom.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 11 '19 at 13:03
  • Likely it's a reference to the derelict ships that are called "ghost ships". They just seem to appear out of the mist.
    – Jim
    Dec 11 '19 at 17:28
  • More to the point, why is it called a "pot" and not simply a "crab cage" or a "crab net"?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 12 '19 at 7:40

"ghost" is often used figuratively as a modifier to refer to things that are metaphorically dead compared to the normal version of the thing, just as a literal ghost is the dead version of a person.

Other examples are "ghost town" (a town that has been abandoned) and "ghost ship" (a boat with no crew or passengers).

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