7th Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program Coming Up

CCA Texas
7th Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program Coming Up
If you have ever caught a derelict crab trap with your propeller or simply gazed out across a shallow flat and noticed one cluttering the view, then this February is your opportunity to do something about it.

During a special 10 day closed season from February 15 to 24, volunteers can participate in the Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program.  Beginning in 2002, the program has been a whopping success with roughly 1,600 volunteers removing 22,746 abandoned crab traps to date.

The major problem with abandoned crab traps is that many continue to fish after they are lost; referred to as “ghost fishing.”  Thirty six species of aquatic organisms have been documented in these lost traps, many commercially or recreationally important.  And the list even includes species of special concern, like diamondback terrapins. During the event in 2006, the remains of a river otter were removed from a lost trap in Galveston Bay.

Any crab trap left in the bay between February 15 and the 24th will be considered abandoned and subject to removal by anyone.  However, any crabs found in the traps must be set free.  TPWD staff will designate sites in each of the eight major bay systems for trap collection.  In areas that are relatively free of abandoned traps will have stand alone sites with dumpsters marked for trap removal.  While in other areas where more effort is need, sites will be manned until noon on Saturday, February 16th weather permitting and have stand alone dumpsters for the duration of the closure.  For those who choose to work on their own, TPWD requests information about the number of traps that they collect.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, and the Cecil M. Hopper Museum are providing significant support to the crab trap removal program. Additional help is coming from numerous organizations, companies and others who are volunteering their services.

To participate, volunteers can pickup free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at each of the sites or their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries Field Stations.
To volunteer or for more information contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division office listed below or contact Art Morris TPWD Outreach Specialist at (361) 825-3356.

Sabine Lake — Local TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti (409) 983-1104
Galveston Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Bill Balboa (281) 534-0100
Matagorda Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Josh Harper (361) 972-6253.
San Antonio Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd (361) 983-4425
Aransas Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Dennis Pridgen (361) 729-2328
Corpus Christi Bay — Local TPWD coordinator Tom Wagner (361) 729-2328
Upper Laguna Madre — Local TPWD coordinator Todd Neahr (361) 825-3353
Lower Laguna Madre — Local TPWD coordinator Mark Lingo (956) 350-4490