The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a notice of intent to continue the abandoned crab trap removal program at their Oct. 6, 2005 meeting. One winter trap closure in a portion of the Terrebonne Bay estuary is planned for 2006.
Successful abandoned crab trap closures and clean ups took place in 2004 and 2005. Funding for these past cleanups was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission Subcontract Award No. DTP-001-2003-01) as well as funding provided to the state by the Louisiana crab industry.
The program was very successful in regard to both the total number of retrieved traps, volunteer participation, and acceptance by all user groups. A grand total of 11,517 crab traps were collected; in 2004, 6,894 traps were collected during two clean ups and, in 2005, 4,623 abandoned crab traps were collected during four crab trap clean ups. A diverse group of volunteers participated, including commercial crab fishermen, recreational fishermen, concerned individuals, and representatives of conservation and environmental organizations, state and federal agencies, and universities.
The abandoned crab trap removal program was viewed as a positive approach to removing derelict crab traps from coastal waters. Funding for the 2006 crab trap clean up comes from the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, which has committed $5,000 toward the effort as well as dedicated revenues generated from crab trap license fee increases supported by the Louisiana Crab Task Force.
In the Terrebonne Bay estuary closure, the commission intends to prohibit the use of crab traps for a 10-day period from 6 a.m., March 4, 2006 through 6 a.m. March 13, 2006 within that portion of Terrebonne Parish as described below:
From a point originating from the intersection of the eastern shoreline of Bayou Dularge and the northern shoreline of Falgout Canal; thence westward along the northern shoreline of Falgout Canal to Lake Decade; thence westward and then southward along the northern and western shoreline of Lake Decade to the mouth of Bayou Decade; thence southwesterly along the northern shoreline of Bayou Decade to Lost Lake; thence westward along the northern shoreline of Lost Lake to the mouth of an unnamed bayou originating from Big Carencro Bayou; thence northward along the eastern shoreline of the unnamed bayou to Big Carencro Bayou; thence northward and then westward along the northern shoreline of Big Carencro Bayou to the eastern shoreline of Four League Bay; thence southwesterly to the northern most point of land on Pointe Au Fer Island at Mosquito Pass; thence southward along the eastern shoreline of Pointe Au Fer Island to the mouth of Oyster Bayou; thence southward along the western shoreline of Oyster Bayou to a point along the inside-outside shrimp line as defined in R.S. 56:495; thence eastward along the inside-outside shrimp line to the eastern shoreline of Bayou Grand Caillou; thence northward to the first red channel marker (No. 10) in Bayou Grand Caillou; thence northward along the red channel markers in Bayou Grand Caillou to channel marker No. 40; thence due eastward to the eastern shoreline of Bayou Grand Caillou; thence northward along the eastern shoreline of Bayou Grand Caillou to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline canal; thence westward along the northern shoreline of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline canal to Bayou Dularge; thence northward along the eastern shoreline of Bayou Dularge and terminating at the intersection of Falgout Canal and Bayou Dularge.
All crab traps remaining in the closed area during the specified period will be considered abandoned. These proposed trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for access to private property; authorization to access private property can only be provided by individual landowners. Crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Anyone may be authorized to remove these abandoned crab traps from within the closed area. No person removing crab traps from the designated closed area may possess these traps outside of the closed areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to sites designated by the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
LDWF will be coordinating the abandoned crab trap removal efforts, but the program will be volunteer-based. The department will be soliciting assistance for the proposed trap sweeps. More information about volunteer participation will be provided at a later date. The 2004 and 2005 abandoned crab trap removal efforts were successful only because of the exceptional volunteer participation.
Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed rule to Vince Guillory, Marine Fisheries Biologist Supervisor, Marine Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 189, Bourg, LA 70343, prior to Friday, Dec. 2, 2005.
EDITORS: For more information contact Vince Guillory at 985/594-4139 or email@example.com.