Texas is hoping to add to the mountain of more than 24,000 abandoned crab traps it has hauled from Texas bays since 2002. And yes, it’s crab trap cleanup again! Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials are gearing up for the 8th Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program, running this year from Febrary 20 to March 1. Over this 10-day period, all Texas bays will be closed to crabbing with crab traps, and any traps left in the bay will be presumed to be abandoned and considered litter, thus allowing volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the numerous wire mesh traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup. Abandoned crab traps pose a problem to both humans and ocean critters alike. People see the traps as nuisance and can hurt themselves by getting poked or even hung on their motors. Abandoned crab traps also work as ghost traps, catching sea life even without bait.
To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts this year, TPWD will provide trap drop-off sites at several locations along the coast Saturday, February 21, from 8 a.m. to noon, weather permitting. Additionally, at all sites, dumpsters marked with banners will be available to receive traps for the duration of the closure. Site locations will be announced in February. Last year, volunteers, with the aid of numerous sponsors, removed more than 2,800 traps. A TPWD representative said:
“The success of this program is a reflection of the keen sense of stewardship anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts have for the marine resources of this great state. Volunteers are working themselves out of a job, as indicated by the waning number of traps removed each year, but that is a good thing.”
To participate, volunteers can arrange pickup free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries Field Stations. TPWD requests volunteers record and submit information about the number of traps that they collect as well as any sightings of diamondback terrapins.
For more information about the Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program and how you can volunteer, please contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries Office or Art Morris at the Corpus Christi Field Station: (361) 825-3356, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Tonya Wiley at the Dickinson Marine Lab: (281) 534-0131,