Crab Trap Removal Program spans
Abandoned traps can cause problems for fish and anglers.
Each February for 20 years, countless volunteers have spent 10 days on the water along the Texas coast searching the bays for abandoned crab traps left to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines and create unsightly views. To date, they’ve hauled off more than 38,000 of these derelict traps.
Beginning February 22, Texas coastal waters will be closed to crabbing with wire mesh crab traps for 10 days to facilitate the annual volunteer crab trap cleanup. Any traps left in bays — including traps tied to docks — will be assumed abandoned and considered litter under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the numerous traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup. Volunteers may focus their efforts on February 22 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed before or after the 10-day window.
The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, Galveston Bay Foundation, San Antonio Bay Partnership and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program. Numerous other organizations and companies also are volunteering their services.
To participate, volunteers may pick up free tarps, gloves, face coverings and additional information at their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries field stations. TPWD requests that volunteers who remove traps record and submit information about the number of traps they collect as well as document any sightings of diamondback terrapins.
All other legal means of crabbing will not be affected during the closure period for wire crab traps. For more information, contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries office or Holly Grand at (361) 825-3993 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TPWD Staff; Patricioj | Dreamstime.com
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