Annual Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal

Between Feb. 21 through March 1, Texas coastal waters will be closed to crabbing with wire mesh crab traps to facilitate the annual volunteer crab trap cleanup. Any traps left in bays — including traps tied to docks — will be assumed abandoned and considered “litter” under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find. Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the numerous traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup.

Each February for 18 years, countless volunteers spend 10 days on the water along the Texas coastline searching the bays for abandoned crab traps left to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines, “ghost fish,” and create unsightly views. To date, they’ve hauled off more than 36,000 of these derelict traps.

To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will provide crab trap drop-off sites at locations in each major bay system along the coast from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 22, weather permitting. Additionally, at all sites, dumpsters or collection areas marked with banners will be available to receive traps for the duration of the closure. Volunteers may focus their efforts on Feb. 22 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed prior to Feb. 21 or after March 1.

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. Numerous other organizations and companies also are volunteering their services.

To participate, 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. For more information, contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries office or Zack Thomas at (512) 389-8448 or [email protected]

2020 Crab Trap Drop-Off Sites

GALVESTON BAY – Local TPWD coordinator Christine Jensen (281) 534-0100

  • Jones Lake State Ramp (Fat Boys)
  • Dickinson Bayou SH 146
  • Fort Anahuac County Park Boat Ramp
  • Chocolate Bayou State Boat Ramp FM 2004
  • TPWD Dickinson Marine Lab
  • Stingaree Restaurant and Marina (Bolivar)
  • Christmas Bay boat ramp

PRESS RELEASE

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