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Friday, July 29, 2011

Libby Carnahan
Sea Grant Extension Agent

Today, Tampa Bay is cleaner, safer, and more eco-friendly thanks to the work of 80 dedicated volunteers. In Tampa Bay, it is estimated that thousands of abandoned crab traps have been accumulating in the bay for decades. This July marked a temporary 10-day closure in blue crab fishing season, which happens only once every 2 years. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) closure allows local environmental agencies to remove any trap from the water because during the closed season, all crab traps are considered derelict. This effort decreases ghost fishing, eliminates hazards to navigation, and improves the aesthetics of our waters.

On July 16, 2011, a total of 28 boats at Fort Desoto, Demens Landing, Bellair Boat Ramp, the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp, Williams Park, and Cockroach Bay, headed out into bay and Gulf waters in search of abandoned traps. We collected a total of 215 traps! Of those traps 124 traps were blue crab and 91 were stone crab traps. Stone crab season is currently closed and reopens October 15th.

The FWC authorized cleanup event was coordinated by Tampa Bay Watch in collaboration with Florida Sea Grant, Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, and Audubon’s Florida Coastal Island Sanctuaries. However, it is the citizens who donated their time, their boats, and their passion for the environment to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude!

Derelict Crab Traps
Florida Sea Grant Derelict Crab Trap Information
Ghost Fishing


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