Texas Parks and Wildlife is getting ready for its annual crab-trap removal in February. Why does this matter? Julie Hagen, a social media specialist with Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Coastal Fisheries Division, says that the program draws attention to the problem of marine debris – in other words, things that pollute coastal areas not only in Texas, but elsewhere in the world.
“We ask people to help us come clean up lost, abandoned or derelict crab traps,” Hagen says.
Crab traps, which are generally set close to shore and left overnight or for a few days, are often forgotten or blown into another part of the ocean during bad weather. Hagen says one of the biggest problems with abandoned crab traps is so-called ghost fishing, when other species besides crabs get stuck and die in the traps.
“We’ve got a lot of Texas coastline, so that means we need a lot of volunteers to help us comb the coastline and look for these abandoned traps,” Hagen says. “It’s dirty work; it’s typically very muddy … but it’s really nice, and it’s helpful because you really get to see how much, at the end of the day, comes out of the water.”
Parks and Wildlife is hosting a crab-trap removal event at sites across the state on Feb. 16. Hagen says anyone interested in volunteering can find out more at the Parks and Wildlife website. Volunteers can either can drop off abandoned traps or even volunteer with other foundations or nonprofits that coordinate trap-removal events.
Written by Brooke Reaves.