Ecosystem Considerations – Derelict Traps – TX 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. In 2002, Texas developed an Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program to address concerns of bycatch and potential habitat damage of ghost traps from the blue crab fishery (Morris 2003). Each year, the trap cleanup program occurs during a ten-day closure period for the commercial and recreational fisheries, during which all traps must be removed from state waters (2014-2015 Commercial Fishing Guide). In its first year, the Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program successfully removed over 8, 000 lost or abandoned traps from Texas state waters (Morris 2003). In the first four years, 22, 700 traps were removed, and the success of the program is reflected in the declining trap numbers that are removed each year, indicating that Texas bays are experience fewer impacts from derelict traps (Derelict Trap Task Force 2008). Crab traps are also required to have a degradable panel to help reduce the impact of lost or abandoned traps on populations of bycatch species (2014-2015 Commercial Fishing Guide).


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