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Annual Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Dates Set for 2023

 

Last updated 2/7/2023 at 8:09pm

AUSTIN — Every February for the past 21 years, countless volunteers have offered up their time to help search for and remove abandoned crab traps. Crab traps left in the water can foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines and “ghost fish” which allows traps to unintentionally kill fish trapped inside as well as create unseemly views. To date, more than 40,000 abandoned crab traps have been removed from Texas coastal waters.

From Feb. 17 to 26, 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 coastwide effort to remove the numerous traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup. To facilitate these efforts, select sites will have volunteer events on Saturday, Feb. 18. (The main volunteer event for Sabine Lake is Saturday, Feb. 25, in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife.) These sites are denoted as “facilitated” in the list below. Registration with partner organizations may be required.

2023 Crab Trap Drop-Off Sites

Sabine Lake – Local TPWD coordinator Carey Gelpi (409) 983-1104 (ext. 222)

Pleasure Island Marina Boat Ramp – Facilitated trap drop-off site. Volunteer event is on Saturday, Feb. 25 in coordination with Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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 — Facilitated trap drop-off site. Register to volunteer at this site with the Galveston Bay Foundation.

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 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

Christmas Bay boat ramp (at the end of Amigo Lane) – Facilitated by the Christmas Bay Foundation. Visit Christmas Bay Foundation’s site for more information.

Matagorda Bay – Local TPWD coordinator Leslie Hartman (361) 972-6253

Please visit San Antonio Bay Partnership’s site for more information about volunteering throughout the mid-coast.

Matagorda Harbor (Matagorda) – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

Railroad Park (Palacios) – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

West Mooring Boat Ramp (Sargent) – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

San Antonio Bay – Local TPWD coordinator Kelly Kowal (361) 983-4425

Please visit San Antonio Bay Partnership’s site for more information about volunteering throughout the mid-coast.

Port O’Connor TPWD Docks — Facilitated trap drop-off site.

Charlie’s Bait Stand — Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

Swan Point / Sanders Park Boat Ramp (Seadrift) – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

Seadrift Marina – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

Austwell Public Boat Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

Aransas Bay – Local TPWD coordinator Zachary Olsen (361) 729-5429

Please visit San Antonio Bay Partnership’s site for more information about volunteering throughout the mid-coast.

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.

Ransom Channel Public Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

Upper Laguna Madre – Local TPWD coordinator Ethan Getz (361) 431-6003

Bluff’s Landing Marina – Non-facilitated and trap drop-off site.

Kaufer-Hubert Memorial Boat Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

Lower Laguna Madre – Local TPWD coordinator Jason Ferguson (956) 350- 4490

Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

Adolph Thomae County Park – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site.

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. 18 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed prior to Feb. 17 or after Feb. 26. Opportunities for land-based volunteers are limited.

The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, Galveston Bay Foundation, San Antonio Bay Partnership, Christmas 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 and additional information at their local Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coastal Fisheries field stations. TPWD requests that volunteers record and submit information about the number of traps they collect as well as 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 about the Abandoned Crab Trap Removal and to learn more about how you can volunteer, please consider joining the Coastal Fisheries Division for an informational webinar at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8. This is a free webinar, but registration is required. For all other questions relating to the program, contact Holly Grand at (361) 431-6003 x822 or at [email protected]

 

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