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Trap Scrap

Abandoned crab traps are a deadly problem — you can help.

By Art Morris

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 month is your opportunity to do something about it.

During a special 10-day closed season from February 16 to 25, volunteers can participate in the Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program. Since its beginning in 2002, the program has been a whopping success — over 1,500 volunteers have removed 19,930 abandoned crab traps to date.

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

This month, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff will commemorate a major milestone for the program — the 20,000th trap removed — with a special prize drawing for the participants. To volunteer or for more information, contact Art Morris at (361) 825-3356 or Bobby Miller at (281) 534-0110.

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