Boaters needed for Crab Trap Removal
Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting volunteer boaters to remove abandoned crab traps from the bay during the temporary closure of blue crab fishery on Saturday, July 11. In Tampa Bay, it is estimated that there are thousands of abandoned crab traps that have been accumulating in the water for decades. The temporary closure is a unique opportunity that only happens once every two years. It allows us to go out and remove any trap from the water because during the closed season, all crab traps are considered derelict. Not just anyone can remove a trap. If you are interested in being involved must be a part of an organized effort that has been authorized by FWC such as our event on July 11.
Derelict crab traps are a problem for several reasons: they continue to ghost fish (fishing that continues despite the inactivity of the trap) killing not only the crabs but several other recreationally and commercially important species, they pose a navigational hazard to boaters and they can cause damage to valuable and sensitive habitats such as seagrass. Manatees, dolphins and sea turtles can also become entangled in the trap line causing injury or death.
Please let Tampa Bay Watch know if you know of an area where there are a lot of derelict crab traps so we can arrange to take care of them during the closure.
Who: Anyone with a boat that is willing to help remove abandoned traps from the waters. Tampa Bay Watch will provide tarps, but your boat will get dirty.
When: Saturday, July 11 from 9am to noon
Where: We still need help at Williams Park boat ramp for the Alafia River, Cockroach Bay boat ramp and Demen’s Landing boat ramp in St. Petersburg. We already have recruited several boats for the Belleair Causeway boat ramp in Belleair Bluffs, Upper Tampa Bay at Courtney Campbell Causeway boat ramp and Boca Ciega Bay at Fort De Soto boat ramp.
Click here to register for the project!