LDWF announces 2020 derelict crab trap cleanup events; volunteers needed

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will again host its annual Derelict Crab Trap Rodeo volunteer cleanup events during the month of February.

The Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program was initiated by LDWF in 2004 to address the removal of derelict and abandoned crab traps.  Derelict traps increase ghost-fishing mortality of blue crabs and other species captured incidentally, interfere with other commercial fishing gear types, create navigation hazards, and degrade the beauty of our natural environment. Commercial fishermen gear fees fund the volunteer-based program, and since its inception has disposed of more than 41,000 derelict crab traps. Last year, LDWF, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, volunteers, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Louisiana, and members of the recreational and commercial fishing community assisted in retrieving more than 4,000 abandoned crab traps.

Volunteers

LDWF encourages volunteers to participate in these events to make this crab trap rodeo successful and keep our Sportsman’s Paradise pristine. Volunteers will help collect traps in the field, unload traps at the dock, and count traps as they are unloaded. Commercial fishermen are highly encouraged to participate, as their experience with the local waters and ability to stack traps on their vessels is valuable. Event organizers will provide boat owners with the equipment needed to collect the traps; however, boat owners are responsible for transporting traps in their vessels.

Removing abandoned crab traps is a wet and dirty job, so please wear appropriate clothing and water-resistant gear. Volunteers should bring their own personal floatation device, which should be worn at all times while on the water. Lunch will be provided to all volunteers as a small token of appreciation for their help to keep our waterways free and clean of derelict crab traps.

  • Barataria Basin: A dedicated volunteer day will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2020, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Jean Lafitte Harbor located at 4932 Kenal Road, Lafitte, LA 70067. If directions are needed, you may contact the Jean Lafitte Harbor at 504-689-2013, or info@jeanlafitteharbor.com. To better coordinate volunteer activities, volunteers are encouraged to register in advance at the following website:

https://lsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2uv0DDFcKP4UJLv

  • Calcasieu Basin: A dedicated volunteer day will be held on Saturday, February 15, 2020, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Cameron Parish public boat launch located on the western shore of the Calcasieu River Ship Channel, north of the Highway 82 Cameron Ferry. If directions are needed, you may contact Peyton Cagle at 337-491-2575, or pcagle@wlf.la.gov . To better coordinate volunteer activities, volunteers are encouraged to register in advance at the following website:

https://lsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2uv0DDFcKP4UJLv

If you are interested in sponsoring the rodeo event, please contact Peyton Cagle before December 31, 2019.

Area closures

Maps of all closure areas can be found here, and the use of traps will be prohibited in the following areas:

  1. Pontchartrain Basin, Lake Pontchartrain east of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway – 12 a.m. Monday, February 3, 2020, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 16, 2020.
  2. Upper Barataria Basin, in an area surrounding Lafitte – 12 a.m. Monday, February 3, 2020, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 16, 2020.
  3. Calcasieu Basin, the eastern portion of lower Calcasieu Lake – 12 a.m. Monday, February 10, 2020, through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, February 19, 2020.
  4. Vermilion-Teche Basin, in an area west of the Acadiana Navigational Channel -12 a.m. Monday, February 10, 2020, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 23, 2020.
  5. Pontchartrain Basin, within the area of Lake Borgne and the northern marsh – 12 a.m. Monday, March 2, 2020, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 15, 2020.
  6. Terrebonne Basin, in an area between Leeville and Cocodrie – 12 a.m. Monday, March 2, 2020, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 15, 2020.

Before the closures take place, LDWF will mail notices to licensed crab fishermen and seafood dealers informing them that crab traps must be removed from within the closure areas during the closure period, and all remaining crab traps will be considered abandoned and may be removed by agency personnel or volunteers.

These proposed trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for access to private property. Individual landowners can only provide authorization to access private property.

Crab traps may be removed only between one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset. Only LDWF, or those designated by LDWF, will be authorized to remove derelict crab traps in the closure areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to LDWF designated disposal sites and may not be taken from the closed area.

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