(Feb. 1, 2016) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will again host its annual Derelict Crab Trap Rodeo will two volunteer cleanup events during the month of February.
The Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program was initiated by LDWF in 2004 to address the removal of derelict and abandoned crab traps. The traps increase ghost-fishing mortality of blue crabs and other species captured incidentally, interfere with other commercial fishing gear types, create navigation hazards and degrade the beauty of our natural environment.
The volunteer-based program is funded through commercial fishermen gear fees, and since its inception has disposed of more than 24,000 derelict crab traps. Last year, LDWF and Louisiana Sea Grant staff, CCA, and volunteers from the recreational fishing community assisted in retrieving more than 400 abandoned traps. This year, LDWF is teaming up with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program to conduct two cleanup events as part of the NOAA Marine Debris Removal Program.
In order to conduct the trap cleanups, licensed crab fishermen and seafood dealers received a notice informing them crab traps must be removed from within the closure areas during the closure period, and all remaining crab traps will be considered abandoned and may be removed by agency personnel or volunteers.
Crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Anyone may remove these abandoned traps from within the closed areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to LDWF designated disposal sites and may not be taken from the closed area.
These proposed trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for access to private property. Authorization to access private property can only be provided by individual landowners.
Maps of the closure areas can be found here, and the use of traps will be prohibited in the following areas:
· Lake Pontchartrain: The use of crab traps will be prohibited beginning Friday, February 12 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, February 21 at 6 a.m.
· Barataria Basin: The use of crab traps will be prohibited beginning Friday, February 19 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, February 28 at 6 a.m.
· Sabine Lake: The use of crab traps will be prohibited in the following area beginning Friday, February 19 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, February 28 at 6 a.m.
LDWF encourages volunteers to participate in this opportunity to remove abandon crab traps and conserve Louisiana’s marine resources. Volunteers are needed to assist with dockside activities including unloading and stacking traps. The greatest need is for volunteer boat owners to help maximize trap collection.
· Lake Pontchartrain: A dedicated volunteer day will be held on Saturday, February 13 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pelican Pointe Marina. This event is held in coordination with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, and lunch and door prizes will be provided. In order to better coordinate volunteer activities, volunteers are encouraged to register in advance at the following website: http://lpbf.wufoo.com/forms/derelict-crab-trap-registration/
· Barataria Basin: A dedicated volunteer day will be held on Saturday, February 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Jean Lafitte Harbor. This event is held in coordination with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Foundation Program, and lunch and door prizes will be provided. In order to better coordinate volunteer activities, volunteers are encouraged to register in advance at the following website: https://surveymonkey.com/r/F9C2L2G