Final approval has been granted for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) 2006 derelict crab trap removal program. This program is viewed as a positive approach to removing derelict crab traps from coastal water and has been very successful in regard to the total number of retrieved traps, volunteer participation, and acceptance by all user groups. In 2004 and 2005, six crab trap cleanups were held and over 11,500 derelict crab traps and over 130 volunteer boat crews participated. This program has been endorsed by the Louisiana Crab Task Force, Louisiana Sea Grant, and Cooperative Extension Service and by conservation organizations such as the Barataria - Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Coastal Conservation Association, and Louisiana Wildlife Federation. A diverse group of volunteers have participated, including commercial crab fishermen, recreational fishermen, concerned individuals, and representatives of conservation and environmental organizations, state and federal agencies, and universities.
One winter trap clean up is planned for a 10-day period from 6:00 a.m., March 4, 2006 through 6:00 a.m. March 13, 2006 in a portion of the Terrebonne Bay estuary as described below:
from a point originating from the intersection of the eastern shoreline of Bayou Dularge and the northern shoreline of Falgout Canal; thence westward along the northern shoreline of Falgout Canal to Lake Decade; thence westward and then southward along the northern and western shoreline of Lake Decade to the mouth of Bayou Decade; thence southwesterly along the northern shoreline of Bayou Decade to Lost Lake; thence westward along the northern shoreline of Lost Lake to the mouth of an unnamed bayou originating from Big Carencro Bayou; thence northward along the eastern shoreline of the unnamed bayou to Big Carencro Bayou; thence northward and then westward along the northern shoreline of Big Carencro Bayou to the eastern shoreline of Four League Bay; thence southwesterly to the northern most point of land on Pointe Au Fer Island at Mosquito Pass; thence southward along the eastern shoreline of Pointe Au Fer Island to the mouth of Oyster Bayou; thence southward along the western shoreline of Oyster Bayou to a point along the inside-outside shrimp line as defined in R.S. 56:495; thence eastward along the inside-outside shrimp line to the eastern shoreline of Bayou Grand Caillou; thence northward to the first red channel marker (No. 10) in Bayou Grand Caillou; thence northward along the red channel markers in Bayou Grand Caillou to channel marker No. 40; thence due eastward to the eastern shoreline of Bayou Grand Caillou; thence northward along the eastern shoreline of Bayou Grand Caillou to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline canal; thence westward along the northern shoreline of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline canal to Bayou Dularge; thence northward along the eastern shoreline of Bayou Dularge and terminating at the intersection of Falgout Canal and Bayou Dularge.
All crab traps remaining in the closure area during the closure period will be considered abandoned and may be collected by anyone. There are, however, several restrictions that pertain to collection of these derelict crab traps. First, crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Second, these abandoned crab traps may not be possessed outside of the closure area and must be brought to sites designated by the Secretary of the LDWF. These trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for public access to private property; authorization to access private property can only be provided by individual landowners.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary, Dwight Landreneau, announced designated disposal sites as:
* Falgout Canal Marina on LA Hwy. 315 in Theriot.
* Dularge Indiana Ridge Plantation Property near the end of LA Hwy. 315 just below the protection levee and floodgate.
The LDWF will be coordinating the abandoned crab trap removal efforts, but the program is volunteer-based and cannot succeed without continued public assistance. It provides is an excellent opportunity for everyone who enjoys our coastal waters to work together and to help make a difference. All water-based user groups, including recreational anglers, boaters, waterfowl hunters, and commercial and recreational shrimp and crab fishermen, are encouraged to participate in the trap cleanup. Several types of boats are needed: small shallow-draft boats and air boats to retrieve traps, and larger mother vessels (such as commercial crab boats) to collect traps from smaller boats.
Several primary volunteer days will be emphasized. These volunteer days will be on March 4 and March 11, the first two Saturdays of the closure period. Traps, however, may be retrieved at other times during the closure period.
LDWF personnel will be present at each disposal site on the designated volunteer days beginning at 7:30 a.m. and remaining until approximately 4:00 p.m. to distribute instructions, maps, and supplies (tarps, grappling hooks, garbage bags, and gloves) to the volunteers and to assist with the unloading of derelict traps. First aid kits will be available if needed.
The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program is helping fund the 2006 abandoned crab trap clean up, and will also provide souvenir caps to all volunteers. State funds are also available from dedicated revenues generated from crab trap license fee increases supported by the Louisiana Crab Task Force.
EDITORS: For more information, contact Vince Guillory at (phone=985-594-4139; or EMAIL= firstname.lastname@example.org  or visit go to the Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program Web Site www.derelictcrabtrap.net  for more information.
[EDITORS: For more information contact Vince Guillory at 985/594-4139 or email@example.com  ]