DMR Removes Derelict Crab Traps

They are a blight on coastal waterways. Hundreds of derelict crab traps litter the shoreline. But the Department of Marine Resources is doing something to remove the eyesores.

Two years ago the department launched a unique and successful recycling program.

The wire boxes are easy to spot along the marshy bank of Bayou Caddy. Some of the derelict crab traps can be plucked from the water, while others must be pried from the thick marsh grass.

"A derelict crab trap is defined as one that is unbuoyed, unmarked and is not actively being fished. So what we're doing right now is identifying and removing and ultimately we're going to be recycling these crab traps," DMR spokesperson Lauren Thompson said.

The traps will be recycled as scrap metal. An agreement with a recycling company prevents the baskets from taking up space in a landfill.

Along with being unsightly, the derelict traps present other problems.

"It's a real concern for the navigation of boaters. The other is of course marine life. Crabs or other fish species that swim in there and are unable to get out," Thompson said.

There is certainly no shortage of these derelict crab traps. The DMR has picked up and recycled more than 1,800 traps since the program began two years ago.

The program is one of the few derelict crab trap removal efforts in the country. And despite the large number of traps collected, supporters say such an effort can make a difference.

Mike Brainard is a marine biologist with the DMR.

"We're making a dent. It's a recurring problem because you have shrimpers who are catching traps in their nets and that's what a lot of these traps along here are. They're being deposited on the shoreline and we come along and collect them from there," Brainard said.

They collected two boat loads in under an hour, leaving Bayou Caddy a little cleaner and safer.