Crab trap removal volunteers needed
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is looking for some people to help them haul crab traps.
From tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 18, through Sunday, Feb. 27, the agency will be running its 10th annual abandoned crab trap removal program, and that program takes a lot of volunteers.
In the 10 years it’s been operating, more than 27,500 derelict crab traps have been hauled from Texas bays, the department said. During this year’s 10-day project, all Texas bays will be closed to crabbing with traps, and any traps in a bay will be assumed to be abandoned. That allows volunteers to remove any traps they find. Before the Texas Legislature authorized the removal program, only the trap’s owner or a game warden could legally remove a crab trap.
(Game wardens still remove more than 2,500 illegal traps every year, but many more remain in the water to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag fishermen’s lines and accidentally trap fish – called “ghost fishing.”)
This year, in celebration of the first decade of the program, two framed original TPWD stamp prints will be given to two lucky volunteers who help out with the program.
TPWD will have trap drop-off sites at several locations in each major bay system along the coast from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 19, weather permitting. Additionally, at all sites, dumpsters marked with banners will be available to receive traps for the duration of the closure. Volunteers may help out on Saturday or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed before tomorrow or after Feb. 27.
The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Research Program, and the Mission- Aransas National Estuarine Reserve are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program. Numerous other organizations and companies also are volunteering their services.
To participate, volunteers can arrange to pickup free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries field stations. TPWD requests volunteers’ who remove traps record and submit information about the number they collect as well as any sightings of diamond-backed 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.
The two Coastal Bend sites are:
Aransas Bay – TPWD coordinator Karen Meador (361) 729-2328
Goose Island State Park Boat Ramp — Facilitated and trap drop-off site
North Cove Harbor Boat Ramp — Trap drop-off site
Corpus Christi Bay – TPWD coordinator Tom Wagner (361) 729-2328
South Conn Brown Harbor Boat Ramp — Facilitated and trap drop-off site