The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a notice of intent to continue the abandoned crab trap removal program at their Sept. 6 meeting. A winter trap closure in a portion of the Terrebonne estuary is planned for 2008.
Successful abandoned crab trap closures and clean ups took place in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. These programs were very successful in regard to both the total number of retrieved traps, volunteer participation, and acceptance by all user groups. A grand total of 15,950 crab traps were collected; in 2004, 6,894 traps were collected during two clean ups, in 2005, 4,623 were collected during four clean-ups, 2,935 abandoned crab traps were removed during one closure in 2006, and most recently 1,498 were collected during two area closures in 2007.
A diverse group of volunteers participated, including commercial crab fishermen, recreational fishermen, concerned individuals, and representatives of conservation and environmental organizations, state and federal agencies, and universities. The abandoned crab trap removal program was viewed as a positive approach to removing derelict crab traps from coastal waters. Funding for the 2008 crab trap clean up is provided through increases in recreational and commercial crab trap gear license fees statutorily dedicated to support the abandoned crab trap removal program.
In the Terrebonne estuary closure, the commission intends to prohibit the use of crab traps for a 10-day period beginning at 6 a.m., Feb. 23, 2008 through 6 a.m. March 3, 2008 within that portion of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes as described below:
From a point originating along the western shoreline of Cut Off Canal at its intersection with Grand Bayou, thence southward along the western shoreline of Cut Off Canal to its intersection with the boundary of the Pointe au Chenes Wildlife Management Area, thence west along the southern boundary of the Pointe au Chenes Wildlife Management Area to the Humble Canal, thence west along the northern shoreline of Humble Canal to its intersection with Bayou Terrebonne, thence south along the western shoreline of Bayou Terrebonne to its intersection with Bush Canal, thence west along the northern shoreline of Bush Canal to its intersection with Bayou Little Caillou, thence south along the western shoreline of Bayou Little Caillou to 29 degrees 17 minutes 00 seconds north latitude, thence east along 29 degrees 17 minutes 00 seconds north latitude to the eastern shoreline of Bayou Pointe au Chenes, thence north along the eastern shoreline of Bayou Pointe au Chenes to the eastern shoreline of Cut Off Canal, thence north along the eastern shoreline of Cut Off Canal to its intersection with the southern shoreline of Grand Bayou, thence west across Cut Off Canal and terminating at the point of origin at the western shoreline of Cut Off Canal at its intersection with Grand Bayou.
All crab traps remaining in the closed area during the specified period will be considered abandoned. 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. Crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Anyone may remove these abandoned crab traps from within the closed area. No person removing crab traps from the designated closed area may possess these traps outside of the closed areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to sites designated by the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
LDWF will be coordinating the abandoned crab trap removal efforts, but the program will be volunteer-based. The department will be soliciting assistance for the proposed trap sweeps. More information about volunteer participation will be provided at a later date. The 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 abandoned crab trap removal efforts were successful only because of the exceptional volunteer participation.
Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed rule to Vince Guillory, Marine Fisheries Biologist Supervisor, Marine Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 189, Bourg, LA 70343, prior to Friday, Dec. 5, 2007.
For more information contact Vince Guillory at 985-594-4139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.