The dates and zones for the 4th Annual Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program have been set for 2007. The two crab trap closures and clean-ups will take place in portions of Barataria Bay and the Lake Pontchartrain estuaries. In Lake Pontchartrain, the program will run from Saturday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, March 4 overlapping the Barataria Bay program dates of Saturday, March 3 through Sunday, March 11.
The designated volunteer days will be on Feb. 24 and March 3 for the Lake Pontchartrain clean up and March 3 and March 10 for the Barataria Bay clean up. However, traps may be retrieved at other times during the closure period.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries personnel will be present at each disposal site on designated volunteer days beginning at 8 a.m. and remaining until approximately 4 p.m. to distribute instructions, maps and supplies (tarps, grappling hooks, garbage bags, and gloves) to the volunteers and to assist with the unloading of derelict traps. First aid kits will also be available if needed. Locations of the designated sites used for the disposal of crab traps collected will be announced following their approval.
All crab traps remaining in each closure area during the closure period will be considered abandoned and may be collected by anyone. However, there are several restrictions that pertain to collection of these derelict crab traps. First, crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Second, these abandoned crab traps may not be possessed outside of the closure area and must be brought to sites designated by the LDWF Secretary. These trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for public access to private property. Individual landowners can only provide authorization to access private property.
The Barataria Bay crab trap closure and clean up area includes that portion of Lafourche, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes as described below:
from a point originating from the intersection of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the northern shoreline of Hero Canal; thence due north to a point along the northern shoreline of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway; thence southward and then westward along the northern shoreline of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to a point opposite the western shoreline of Bayou Perot; thence due south to the western shoreline of Bayou Perot; thence southward along the western shoreline of Bayou Perot to Little Lake; thence southward along the western shoreline of Little Lake to 29 degrees, 30 minutes, 00 seconds north latitude; thence eastward along 29 degrees, 30 minutes, 00 seconds north latitude to the eastern shoreline of Wilkinson Canal; thence northward along the eastern shoreline of Wilkinson Canal to its termination; thence due north to the western shore of the Mississippi River; thence northwestward along the western shore of the Mississippi River to a point due east of the northern shoreline of Hero Canal; thence due west to the northern shoreline of Hero Canal; thence westward along the northern shoreline of Hero Canal and terminating at its intersection with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
The Lake Pontchartrain crab trap closure and clean up area includes that portion of Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes as described below:
from a point originating from the intersection of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge and the southern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain; thence eastward along the southern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain to Chef Menteur Pass; thence southward along the western shoreline of Chef Menteur Pass to Lake Borgne; thence due south a distance of one-half mile from the Lake Borgne shoreline; thence eastward and then northward a distance of one-half mile from the Lake Borgne shoreline to a point due east of Catfish Point; thence northwesterly across Rigolets Pass to the southeastern most point of land on Hog Island; thence westward along the northern shoreline of Rigolets Pass to its intersection with U.S. Highway 90; thence northward along U.S. Highway 90 to its intersection with U.S. Highway 190 (Fremaux Avenue); thence westerly along U.S. Highway 190 to Military Road; thence northward on Military road to U.S. Highway 190 (Gause Boulevard); thence westward on U.S. Highway 190 (Gause Boulevard) to Causeway Boulevard; thence southward along Causeway Boulevard and then the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge and terminating at its intersection with the southern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain.
This program has been endorsed by the Louisiana Crab Task Force, Louisiana State University (LSU) Sea Grant, and LSU Cooperative Extension Service and by conservation organizations such as the Barataria - Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Coastal Conservation Association, and Louisiana Wildlife Federation. A diverse group of volunteers have participated, including commercial crab fishermen, recreational fishermen, concerned individuals, and representatives of conservation and environmental organizations, state and federal agencies, and universities.
Abandoned crab trap closures and clean ups in 2004, 2005 and 2006 proved very successful in regards to the total number of retrieved traps, volunteer participation and acceptance by all user groups. An overall total of 14,452 crab traps were collected; 6,894 traps during two clean ups in 2004, 4,623 during four clean-ups in 2005, and 2,935 abandoned crab traps in one clean up in 2006.
LDWF will be coordinating the derelict crab trap removal efforts, but the program is volunteer-based and cannot succeed without continued public assistance. It is an excellent opportunity for everyone who enjoys our coastal waters to work together and to help make a difference. All water-based user groups, including recreational anglers, boaters, waterfowl hunters, and commercial and recreational shrimp and crab fishermen, are encouraged to participate in the trap cleanup. Several types of boats are needed: small shallow-draft boats and airboats to retrieve traps, and larger mother vessels (such as commercial crab boats) to collect traps from smaller boats.
Funding for the 2007 crab trap clean is provided by increases in recreational and commercial crab trap gear license fees statutorily dedicated to support the abandoned crab trap removal program. The Louisiana Crab Task Force endorsed these fee increases.