Special to the PRESS
For more than a decade, countless volunteers have spent 10 days each February searching Texas bays for abandoned crab traps left to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines and create unsightly views.
This year, volunteers will clean up the crab traps from Feb. 19 to 28.
During this 10-day period, coastal waters will be closed to crabbing with wire mesh crab traps. All other legal means of crabbing will not be affected.
Any traps left in bays, including traps tied to docks, during the closure period will be assumed abandoned and considered “litter” under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find. To date, volunteers have hauled off more than 31,000 of these derelict traps.
To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts this year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will provide trap drop-off locations in each major bay system along the coast from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 20, weather permitting. Dumpsters or collection areas marked with banners will also be available at all sites to receive traps for the duration of the closure. Volunteers may focus their efforts on Feb. 20 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed by anyone other than a game warden or the device’s legal owner prior to Feb. 19 or after Feb. 28.
To participate, volunteers can pick up 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 they collect and document any sightings of diamondback terrapins.
The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, Galveston Bay Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program.
Trap Drop-off Site
LOWER LAGUNA MADRE – Local TPWD coordinator Jason Ferguson (956) 350-4490
Adolph Thomae County Park – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site