Old anchor thrown back into Monterey Bay

By Natalie Orenstein - San Francisco Chronicle

An anchor snared in a commercial fishing net in Monterey Bay last month was determined by archaeologists to be more than 100 years old.

But the 12-foot, 3,000- to 4,000-pound iron anchor isn't going to a museum.

Instead, protected under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the historical resource was hoisted back into the water Thursday to help preserve it.

"The iron undergoes metallurgical changes, and starts to break down really fast as soon as it's in air," said Scott Kathey, a spokesman for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The admiralty anchor, a model that was used regularly until the turn of the century, was caught in a net designed to catch schooling fish, such as sardines and anchovies.

Though there are hundreds of shipwrecks and loose artifacts in Monterey Bay, it is unusual for fishing nets to pick up unwanted items, Kathey said.

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