Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials have set dates for the 14th annual Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program, which this year will Feb. 21 to March 2.
The program, in place since 2002, has helped to remove more than 33,000 derelict crab traps hauled from Texas bays. During the 10-day period all Texas bays are closed to crabbing with wire mesh crab traps. Any remaining traps will be assumed abandoned and considered “litter” under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove traps they find.
Prior to the 77th Legislature authorizing the abandoned crab trap removal program, only the trap’s owner or a game warden could legally remove a crab trap. State game wardens confiscate more than 2,500 illegal traps annually, yet many more remain to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines, “ghost fish” and create an unsightly view of state shores.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the coastwide effort to remove numerous traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup. TPWD will provide trap drop-off sites at several locations in each major bay system along the coast from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 22, weather permitting. Additionally at all sites, trash bins or collection areas marked with banners will be available to receive traps.
Coastal Conservation Association-Texas, the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, NRG Energy and the Galveston Bay Foundation are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program. Numerous other organizations and companies also are volunteering services.
Volunteers may pick up free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries field stations. TPWD requests that volunteers who remove traps record and submit information about the number of traps they collect as well as documenting any sightings of diamondback terrapins.
All other legal means of crabbing will not be affected during the closure period for wire crab traps.
Trap Drop-off Sites
Sabine Lake– Local TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti 409-983-1104 (ext. 222)
Pleasure Island Marina Boat Ramp
Galveston Bay– Local TPWD coordinator Bill Balboa 281-534-0110
Jones Lake State Ramp (Fat Boys) — Facilitated by NRG Energy and the Galveston Bay Foundation
Seabrook SH 146 Bridge Public Boat Ramp
Fort Anahuac County Park Boat Ramp — Facilitated by Galveston Bay Foundation
Chocolate Bayou State Boat Ramp– FM 2004
MATAGORDA BAY– Local TPWD coordinator Leslie Hartman 361-972-6253
Mitchell Cut Boat (ICWW) Ramp at Sargent
Matagorda Harbor at Matagorda
Railroad Park at Palacios
San Antonio Bay – Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd 361-983-4425
Charlie’s Bait Stand
Port O’Connor TPWD Docks
ARANSAS BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Emma Clarkson 361-729-5429
Goose Island State Park Boat Ramp
North Cove Harbor Boat Ramp
CORPUS CHRISTI BAY– Local TPWD coordinator Tom Wagner 361-729-2328
Marinaville (Nueces Bay) Boat Ramp
Port Aransas Public Boat Ramp
UPPER LAGUNA MADRE – Local TPWD coordinator Faye Grubbs 361-825-3353
Bluff’s Landing Marina
Kaufer Park Boat Ramp
LOWER LAGUNA MADRE – Local TPWD coordinator Mark Lingo 956-350-4490
Adolfe Thomae County Park at Arroyo City
Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp at Port Mansfield