Gulf Coast Volunteers Collect Crab Traps

Another crab trap added to the pile makes this group of volunteers both happy and shocked.

"I was surprised at how clean it was. I know that Mississippi's been out working hard all this week trying to get these traps up," said Leslie Hartman with Alabama's DMR.

Alabama is in it's second year of having closed crab trap seasons. The first was last June and after a high collection rate, other states are picking up on the idea.

"This is a Gulf-wide problem. We have folks here from Louisana, Mississippi, Alabama."

"We're not alone. Texas and Alabama have already implemented these closed seasons to get their traps out. Lousiana is looking at legislation to do this also," said Lauren Thompson with Mississippi's DMR.

The Department of Marine Resources, the Gulf Coast Research Lab and volunteers have picked up more than 1100 crab traps.

"My personal goal is 160," said Hartman.

Besides collecting the crab traps, they also are studying what's inside. One reason for collecting crab traps is to find out how abandoned ones affect marine life.

"So we've been counting crabs alive and dead, also turtles, mullets, sheepshead. We've found all sorts of stuff in there," said Kirsten Larsen with the Gulf Coast Research Lab.

The group was successful in collecting crab traps, they found more than 400 here. But they know in just a few days, they'll be out again, because the season reopens Sunday at 6 am.

By Jennifer Holliman