News Release Distributed 02/05/14
BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU AgCenter is helping organize a derelict crab trap rodeo off the coast of Terrebonne Parish. The roundup will take place Saturday, Feb, 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Toby Voisin’s oyster dock at the end of La. Highway 315 in Dularge.
Julie Anderson with the LSU AgCenter School of Renewable Natural Resources is helping coordinate the event and said derelict crab traps are a navigation hazard and present a danger to fish. The rodeo cleans up the shoreline and protects Louisiana’s marine resources.
“There are hundreds of traps that end up ‘ghost fishing,’” Anderson said. “Because no one is checking the traps, once anything gets in them – other fish or crabs – they end up dying in the traps.”
Crab traps become derelict or lost for several reasons, according to Anderson. Fishing vessels or recreational boats can cut the buoy lines of the traps, and they end up floating away. Boats or weather can move traps away from their locations. Some traps simply get abandoned.
The LSU AgCenter has been working with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and other partners to hold crab trap cleanups since 2004. Some years several cleanups are held, but Anderson said this event will be the only one this year.
“We are doing it in February because this is the time of the year with the lowest catch, so it has less economic impact on the fishermen,” Anderson said.
Anyone with traps in that area has been asked to remove them ahead of the cleanup. Volunteers will go out and collect any traps they see. Anderson said the traps used to go to landfills, but for the past two years they have been recycled.
Anderson is asking for volunteers, especially people with boats, to join the crab trap rodeo. Door prizes and lunch will be provided.
Volunteers can register at www.laseagrant.org/crabtraps/volunteers.htm.Tobie Blanchard