Over the course of the 30-day blue crab season closure earlier this year, more than 5,600 derelict traps were removed from Louisiana’s coastal waters, according to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
More than 3,800 traps were taken out of the Pontchartrain Basin, and almost 600 were removed from the Terrebonnne Basin.
““In the Pontchartrain Basin, we had a threefold increase in the number of recovered derelict traps from last year due to outstanding collaboration with volunteers, St. Bernard Parish, LDWF, commercial fishermen, CCA, Sweetwater Marina, and Boat Stuf,” said Dr. John Lopez, with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. “We estimate that over 130,000 crabs per year were saved with these efforts.”
Statewide, additional traps also were removed from the Barataria Basin, the Calcasieu Basin and the Vermilion-Teche Basin.
“The removal of these derelict crab traps not only benefits the blue crab population, but other marine species as well, by reducing the amount of mortality caused by ghost fishing,” said Jeff Marx, the LDWF crab and shrimp program manager.
Since LDWF initiated the volunteer-based program in 2004, more than 33,000 traps have been removed across the state. The program is funded in part by the sale of Louisiana commercial and recreational crab fishing licenses.