Fishery Interactions- TX Blue Crab

Recreational Interactions

There is high possibility of interaction between the Texas commercial blue crab fishery and other com­mercial and recreational fisheries. Recreational blue crabbing is allowed in Texas with a maximum of six recreational traps. However, other recreational fishing methods are used for blue crabs, includ­ing dip nets and lines baited with chicken necks. There is also a high possibility of interaction between commercial blue crabbers and recreational fishermen targeting finfish.

Commercial Interactions

Interactions also occur across state and national boundaries. Each Gulf of Mexico state has a blue crab fishery, and crabs do not distinguish between state boundaries meaning other state’s fishing practices may affect fisheries in Texas, and vice versa (MRAG Americas, Inc. 2008). Texas and Louisiana share Lake Sabine, a productive blue crab habitat. Southern Texas shares a border with Mexico, and there is a commercial crab fishery that operates in Mexican waters in the Gulf of Mexico; however, the Mexican fishery is currently thought to have mini­mal impact on the northern Gulf of Mexico stocks and has not been included by GSMFC or individual states in assessment activities. The crab fishery in Mexican waters centers around Veracruz (30% of landings) and Campeche (30% of landings) in the southern portion of the Gulf of Mexico (SAGARPA 2012); there is currently no specific cooperation between the United States and Mexico with respect to the blue crab fishery.

Interactions between crab gear and shrimp gear are common. Blue crab is a bycatch species in shrimp trawls (Fuls et al.  2002), and gear interactions can be a source of conflict between the fisher­ies. Crab traps, either actively fishing or ghost fishing, are sometimes caught in shrimp trawls, which can cause damage to nets and loss of catch (Guillory et al. 2001). In 2000, TPWD closed several nursery areas for the shrimp trawl fishery, which also served to reduce interactions between blue crab and shrimp fishermen  (31 T.A.C. §57.973 Devices, Means, and Methods). Additionally, TPWD instituted the Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program, occurring annually, to reduce the number of abandoned traps in Texas waters and reduce gear interactions between the shrimp and crab fisheries (Morris 2003).


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