The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will again host its annual Derelict Crab Trap Rodeo with two volunteer cleanup events during the month of February.
The Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program was initiated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in 2004 to address the removal of derelict and abandoned crab traps. Derelict traps increase ghost-fishing mortality of blue crabs and other species captured incidentally, interfere with other commercial fishing gear types, create navigation hazards and degrade the beauty of our natural environment. The volunteer-based program is funded through commercial fishermen gear fees, and since its inception has disposed of more than 37,000 derelict crab traps. Last year, LDWF, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation members, volunteers, BTNEP, CCA and members of the recreational fishing community assisted in retrieving more than 4,000 abandoned crab traps.
Maps of the closure areas can be found here, and the use of traps will be prohibited in the following areas:
Upper Barataria Basin and adjacent marshes west of Port Sulphur – 12 a.m. Friday, February 1, 2019, through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, February 14, 2019.
Lake Pontchartrain, west of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway – 12 a.m. Friday, February 1, 2019, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 10, 2019.
Terrebonne Basin, in an area east of Four League Bay to Bayou Grand Caillou – 12 a.m. Friday, February 15, 2018, through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, February 28, 2019.
Pontchartrain Basin, in an area east of the Mississippi River to Bayou Terre Aux Boeufs -12 a.m. Friday, February 15, 2019, through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, February 28, 2019.
Sabine Basin, within the area of Black Bayou from the LA/TX state line easterly to a point east of Vinton – 12 a.m. Wednesday, March 13, 2019, through 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 22, 2019.
In the weeks leading up to the closures, LDWF will mail notices to licensed crab fishermen and seafood dealers informing them that crab traps must be removed from within the closure areas during the closure period, and all remaining crab traps will be considered abandoned and may be removed by agency personnel or volunteers.
These proposed trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for access to private property. Authorization to access private property can only be provided by individual landowners.
Crab traps may be removed only between one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset. Only LDWF or those designated by LDWF will be authorized to remove derelict crab traps in the closure areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to LDWF designated disposal sites and may not be taken from the closed area.
LDWF encourages volunteers to participate in this opportunity in order to make this crab trap rodeo successful and keep our Sportsman’s Paradise pristine. Volunteers will help collect traps in the field, unload traps at the dock and count traps as they are unloaded. Commercial crabbers are highly encouraged to participate; their experience with the local waters and ability to stack traps on their vessel is valuable. Event organizers will provide boat owners with the equipment needed to collect the traps; however, they are responsible for transporting traps in their vessels.
Removing abandoned crab traps is a wet and dirty job, so please wear appropriate clothing and wet gear. Volunteers should bring their own personal floatation device, which should be worn at all times while on the water. A free t-shirt and lunch will be provided to all volunteers as a small token of appreciation for their help to keep our waterways free and clean of derelict crab traps.
Barataria Basin: A dedicated volunteer day will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Plaquemines Parish boat launch located behind Port Sulphur High School on Civic Drive. In order to better coordinate volunteer activities, volunteers are encouraged to register in advance at the following website:http://lsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5b94Jc8VFxyBsIl.
Terrebonne Basin: A dedicated volunteer day will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Toby’s Oyster Dock located near the end of Hwy 315 in Dularge. In order to better coordinate volunteer activities, volunteers are encouraged to register in advance at the following website: http://lsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5b94Jc8VFxyBsIl.
If you are interested in sponsoring one or both rodeo events, please contact Peyton Cagle before December 31, 2018.
For more information on the Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/derelict-crab-trap-removal or contact Peyton Cagle at 337-491-2575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.