AUSTIN — Each February for 17 years, countless volunteers spend 10 days on the water along the Texas coastline searching the bays for abandoned crab traps left to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines, “ghost fish,” and create unsightly views. To date, they’ve hauled off more than 35,000 of these derelict traps.
Between Feb. 15-24, Texas coastal waters will be closed to crabbing with wire mesh crab traps to facilitate the annual volunteer crab trap cleanup. Any traps left in bays — including traps tied to docks — will be assumed abandoned and considered “litter” under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the numerous traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup. To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will provide crab trap drop-off sites at locations in each major bay system along the coast from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 16, weather permitting. Additionally, at all sites, dumpsters or collection areas marked with banners will be available to receive traps for the duration of the closure. Volunteers may focus their efforts on Feb. 16 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed prior to Feb. 15 or after Feb. 24.
The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, Galveston Bay Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program. Numerous other organizations and companies also are volunteering their services.
To participate, volunteers may pick up free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries field stations. TPWD requests that volunteers who remove traps record and submit information about the number of traps they collect as well as documenting any sightings of diamondback terrapins.
All other legal means of crabbing will not be affected during the closure period for wire crab traps. For more information, contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries office or Zack Thomas at (512) 389-8448 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program’s history or for more information about volunteering, click on the links.
Images of previous abandoned crab trap clean ups can be found on the TPWD news images page. Also available is a YouTube video produced by TPWD.
2019 Crab Trap Drop-Off Sites
SABINE LAKE – Local TPWD coordinator Carey Gelpi (409) 983-1104 (ext. 222)
Pleasure Island Marina Boat Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
GALVESTON BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Glen Sutton (281) 534-0100
Jones Lake State Ramp (Fat Boys) — Facilitated (CCA) and trap drop-off site
Seabrook SH 146 Bridge Public Boat Ramp — Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
Fort Anahuac County Park Boat Ramp — Facilitated by Galveston Bay Foundation and trap drop-off site
Chocolate Bayou State Boat Ramp FM 2004 — Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
TPWD Dickinson Marine Lab — Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
Stingaree Restaurant and Marina (Bolivar) — Facilitated by Galveston Bay Foundation and others, and trap drop-off site
Christmas Bay boat ramp – Facilitated by the Christmas Bay Foundation
MATAGORDA BAY– Local TPWD coordinator Leslie Hartman (361) 972-6253
Mitchell Cut Boat (ICWW) Ramp @ Sargent – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
Matagorda Harbor at Matagorda – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
Railroad Park at Palacios – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
SAN ANTONIO BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Clint Troxler (361) 983-4425
Charlie’s Bait Stand — Facilitated and trap drop-off site
Port O’Connor TPWD Docks — Facilitated and trap drop-off site
Austwell Public Boat Ramp – Facilitated by San Antonio Bay Foundation & trap drop-off site
Bayfront Peninsula Park (Lavaca Bay) – Unfacilitated trap drop-off site
ARANSAS BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Chris Mace (361) 729-5429
Goose Island State Park Boat Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
CORPUS CHRISTI BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Tom Wagner (361) 729-2328
South Conn Brown Harbor Public Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site (Bigelow Street,
Aransas Pass, TX 78336)
Ransom Channel Public Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site (Ransom Drive, Aransas Pass, TX 78336)
UPPER LAGUNA MADRE – Local TPWD coordinator Holly Grand (361) 825-3353
Bluff’s Landing Marina – Facilitated and trap drop-off site (4242 Laguna Shores Road,
Corpus Christi, TX 78418)
Kaufer-Hubert Memorial Boat Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site (FM 628 Exd Riviera, TX 78379)
LOWER LAGUNA MADRE – Local TPWD coordinator Jason Ferguson (956) 350- 4490
Adolfe Thomae County Park – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site