Derelict Crab Trap Removal in Blackwater Bay
Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent
Santa Rosa County
Santa Rosa County Sea Grant Extension Agent, Chris Verlinde, partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Office of Coastal and Aquatic Areas and Ecosystem Restoration and volunteers from the Bream Fishermen Association to conduct a derelict crab trap cleanup. One-hundred and twenty eight traps were removed from Blackwater Bay and Catfish Basin.
Chris Verlinde with some of the derelict crab traps removed from area waters.
The FWC closed the crab season in the Panhandle for 10 days in January. This allowed for groups to remove derelict traps. It is against the law to tamper with a crab trap, lines, buoys or the contents of crab traps if they do not belong to you! Fishermen were required to remove traps from closed waters during this time.
Crab traps can be lost during storms, they may be moved by passing vessels or they are abandoned by their owners for various reasons. The importance of removing these traps is because once the traps are lost, they “ghost fish” which means fish, crabs and turtles can get caught in the traps without food and die. Lost or abandoned traps also are an eyesore; they may damage sensitive habitats and could be a navigational hazard.
If you notice a lost or abandoned crab trap in waterways, you can submit an e-mail report to the FWC Crab Trap Removal Program, CleanupTraps@MyFWC.com. Please include the number of derelict traps found, location (preferably GPS coordinates), type of trap - blue crab or stone crab, and any other identifying feature that would help locate the traps).