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Posts Tagged ‘crab trap removal’

Crab trap cleanup

Derelict crab traps are a boating danger and an eyesore along the shallows of Mobile Bay, and they are perpetual killing machines. Crabs enter the abandoned trap and die. Small fish and crabs feed on the decaying crabs. More crabs are attracted, and the cycle goes on and on.

CCA Alabama volunteers took to the shallow flats in March to retrieve and destroy abandoned traps. Partnering with Mobile County Wildlife Conservation Association and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the crew met on the Causeway for a morning of in-the-mud fun. The project is conducted every two years, and it is a favorite activity for CCA Alabama members.

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National wildlife refuge crab trap cleanup

In August, CCA members from around Central Florida gathered at Haulover Canal, on the edge of Mosquito Lagoon, to participate in the First Annual Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Crab Trap Cleanup. Primarily focused on the Mosquito Lagoon area, the cleanup was made possible in part due to a recent change in the laws governing crab fishing. There are now rolling 10-day closures for crab fishing around the state. During these closures all legal, working traps must be removed from the waters of the specific region. The closures make it much easier to set up cleanup events, where any trap in the water is considered abandoned and subject to disposal.

Working with officials from the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Capt. Chris Peterson, CCA life member and owner of Hell’s Bay Boatworks, both sponsored and spearheaded the cleanup with the help of many volunteers and sponsors. CCA Florida would like to thank Capt. Chris and Wendi Peterson and the entire Hell’s Bay Boatworks team for their support of this project. We would also like to thank Stan Howarter and all of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge staff as well as the FWC and all of our sponsors; Hell’s Bay Boatworks, Mosquito Creek Outdoors, The Fly Fisherman, Coastal Angler Magazine, ESPN Outdoors, The National Wildlife Refuge Systems, United Waterfowlers – Florida, Merritt Island Wildlife Association, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.

The importance of removing these “ghost traps” from our waters is twofold. First and foremost, these traps continue to catch and kill crabs and other marine life as long as they are in the water. This was evidenced by the many traps that were retrieved with dead crabs and other animals in them. Secondly, as anyone who has spent an hour or two unwinding yards of chicken wire out of their prop can tell you, these traps also pose a threat to navigation. Many of the traps recovered that day had no marker buoys attached and several had obviously been hit by an outboard motor. At the end of the day, with the efforts of all of the volunteers, we were able to remove 79 abandoned traps from our waters.

For more information about the crab season closures and how you can organize a crab trap cleanup in your area, visit www.myfwc.com or contact Dan Askin, CCA Florida general manager, at 321-663-2588.

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