Ecosystem Considerations – Derelict Traps – AL Blue Crab

Derelict Traps

derelict trapsCrab trap loss is a factor that affects not only fishermen, but potentially the ecosystem in which traps are lost. Stone crab (Menippe spp), sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus), spot (Leiostomus xanthurus), Gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta), black drum, southern flounder, hardhead catfish, and pinfish (Lagodon rhomboids) are some of the more common bycatch species found in traps (Perry and VanderKooy 2015). Once a trap is lost, it may continue to fish and cause mortality to what is trapped. The first crab trap removal efforts in Alabama started in 2002. In the first five years of the program,  volunteers removed 2, 440 traps, mainly in shallow waters. A significant decline in the number of traps retrieved in 2004 indicated the accumulation of traps had been reduced and the program is now conducted as a maintenance program every two or three years (Derelict Trap Task Force 2008). ADCNR staff will also pick up derelict traps on an as-needed basis.


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