Photo by David J. Sams
Story by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
For more than a decade, countless volunteers have spent 10 days each February searching Texas bays for abandoned crab traps left to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines and create unsightly views.
This year, volunteers will clean up the crab traps from Feb. 19 to 28.
During this 10-day period, coastal waters will be closed to crabbing with wire mesh crab traps. All other legal means of crabbing will not be affected.
Any traps left in bays, including traps tied to docks, during the closure period will be assumed abandoned and considered “litter” under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find. To date, volunteers have hauled off more than 31,000 of these derelict traps.
To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts this year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will provide trap drop-off locations in each major bay system along the coast from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 20, weather permitting. Dumpsters or collection areas marked with banners will also be available at all sites to receive traps for the duration of the closure. Volunteers may focus their efforts on Feb. 20 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed by anyone other than a game warden or the device’s legal owner prior to Feb. 19 or after Feb. 28.
To participate, volunteers can pick up free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at their localTPWD Coastal Fisheries field stations. Volunteers can also sign up at tpwd.texas.gov/volunteer by using keyword search “crab.” TPWD requests volunteers record and submit information about the number of traps they collect and document any sightings of diamondback terrapins.
The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, Galveston Bay Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program.
For more information, contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries office or Zack Thomas at TPWD Headquarters: (512) 389-8448 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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