Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials have set dates for the 16th annual Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program, which this year will run Feb. 19-28.
The program, in place since 2002, has helped to remove tens of thousands of 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 thousands of 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. 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 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 and other unusual wildlife.
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 Carey Gelpi (409) 983-1104 (ext. 222)
- Mesquite Point Boat Ramp next to Walter Umphrey State Park — Facilitated and trap drop-off site
- Pleasure Island Marina Boat Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
GALVESTON BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Glen Sutton (281) 534-0110
- Jones Lake State Ramp (Fat Boys) — Facilitated and trap drop-off site
- Seabrook SH 146 Bridge Public Boat Ramp — Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
- Fort Anahuac County Park Boat Ramp — Facilitated by Galveston Bay Foundation and trap drop-off site
- Chocolate Bayou State Boat Ramp- FM 2004 — Facilitated and trap drop-off site
MATAGORDA BAY– Local TPWD coordinator Leslie Hartman (361) 972-6253
- Mitchell Cut Boat (ICWW) Ramp at Sargent – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
- Matagorda Harbor at Matagorda – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
- Railroad Park at Palacios – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
SAN ANTONIO BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd (361) 983-4425
- Charlie’s Bait Stand – Facilitated and trap drop-off site
- Port O’Connor TPWD Docks — Facilitated and trap drop-off site
- Austwell Public Boat Ramp – Facilitated by San Antonio Bay Foundation and trap drop off site
ARANSAS BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Chris Mace (361) 729-5429
- Goose Island State Park Boat Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
- North Cove Harbor Boat Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
CORPUS CHRISTI BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Tom Wagner (361) 729-2328
- South Conn Brown Harbor Public Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
- Ransom Channel Public Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
UPPER LAGUNA MADRE – Local TPWD coordinator Faye Grubbs (361) 825-3353
- Bluff’s Landing Marina – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
- Kaufer Park Boat Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
LOWER LAGUNA MADRE – Local TPWD coordinator Jason Ferguson (956) 350-4490
- Adolph Thomae County Park – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site
- Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp – Non-facilitated trap drop-off site