By: Adam Songy, Tasia Denapolis, Michael Hopkins, Pontchartrain Conservancy
In Louisiana, commercial crabbers can fish with an unlimited number of crab traps, and the number of traps they use is not reported. Therefore, the number of traps becoming derelict is unknown. The Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program (DCTR) was initiated in 2004 by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to remove derelict traps and to reduce their negative environmental and economic impacts. Since beginning the program, LDWF and volunteers have removed 50,496 derelict traps from coastal Louisiana. Pontchartrain Conservancy (PC) involvement with the program began in 2016 and has resulted in the removal of more than 18,621 derelict traps from the Pontchartrain Basin. Removal efforts by PC in 2021 resulted in the removal of 4,806 derelict traps.
Derelict crab traps are crab traps that have become discarded, lost, or abandoned in the marine environment. In Louisiana the legal definition is any trap that remains within an area designated by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) to be closed for the removal of derelict or abandoned crab traps. PC is committed to working with LDWF and commercial fishers to benefit crab stocks and the commercial fishery by continuing to participate in and help improve the derelict crab trap removal program.