Annual Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Dates Set for 2021
Last updated 2/2/2021 at 8:04pm
Each February for 19 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 38,000 of these derelict traps.
From February 19th through the 28th, 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. Volunteers are urged to wear masks and keep socially distance from those not in your household when appropriate. In an effort to facilitate volunteer efforts, several sites along the coast will have clean-up events on February 20 from 8am until noon. These sites are denoted as "facilitated" in the list below. Registration with partner organizations may be required. 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. 20 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed prior to Feb. 19 or after Feb. 28.
The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, Galveston Bay Foundation, San Antonio Bay Partnership, 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, face coverings, 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 Holly Grand at (361) 825-3993 or [email protected]
Learn more about the Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program's history on our website or watch a YouTube video produced by TPWD.
2021 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 Christine Jensen (281) 534-0100
Jones Lake State Ramp (Fat Boys) - Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
Dickinson Bayou SH 146 Bridge Public Boat Ramp - Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
Fort Anahuac County Park Boat Ramp - Non-facilitated trap drop-off site, Sponsored by Galveston Bay Foundation and Chambers County
Chocolate Bayou State Boat Ramp FM 2004 - Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
TPWD Dickinson Marine Lab - Non-facilitated trap drop-off site during business hours (M-F, 8am-5pm)
Stingaree Restaurant and Marina (Bolivar) - Non-facilitated trap drop-off site, Sponsored by Galveston Bay Foundation
Christmas Bay boat ramp – Facilitated by the Christmas Bay Foundation. Please visit Christmas Bay Foundation's site for more information about volunteering at this location.