An article on Working Waterfront details the efforts of the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA), which hosts events where volunteers remove debris from the shorelines of islands along the coastal waterway trail. The volunteers naturally come across lots of lobster trap buoys, but, due to lobster-gear molestation laws, have traditionally left them behind.
In 2012, MITA began implementing a buoy-return program with help from the Maine Marine Patrol to obtain permission to remove buoys during island cleanups. In conjunction with local harbormasters, locations were identified where buoys could be left for retrieval, primarily at fish piers or outside harbormaster offices. According to the article, as many as 80 salvageable buoys can be gathered from just a handful of islands during a single cleanup. This can save local lobstermen hundreds of dollars in replacement gear.