Tampa Bay Watch and Florida Airboat Association Partner to Remove Derelict Crab Traps from McKay Bay
On Saturday, January 16, Tampa Bay Watch, along with the Florida Airboat Association and community volunteers will participate in a crab trap removal effort of McKay Bay in northeastern Hillsborough Bay.
The Florida Airboat Association will provide five airboats to aid in locating and retrieving derelict traps. The primary objective of this project is to remove derelict traps from the environment and to reduce unnecessary entrapment of marine organisms, such as blue crabs, stone crabs, small commercial and recreationally important fish and brackish water turtles. Manatees, dolphins and sea turtles can also become entangled in the trap line causing injury or death. Other benefits include the removal of marine debris from the environment, reducing boating safety hazards and increasing public awareness on the problems of derelict crab traps.
It is estimated that there are thousands of derelict crab traps that have been accumulating for decades in Tampa Bay. Each year, Tampa Bay Watch performs surveys to identify derelict traps and conducts clean-ups to remove them. Having conducted 14 crab trap removals since May 2004, Tampa Bay Watch has successfully removed 660 traps from the waters of Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay Watch derelict crab trap program is conducted by trained volunteers that have a clear understanding of what constitutes a derelict trap. A derelict trap is defined as any trap found in the water during closed season for that species or any fishable trap during open season that lacks at least three of the following: buoy, line, current trap tag, current commercial saltwater products license. If derelict traps are found, do NOT remove them. Instead, record location of the trap either on a GPS or chart and any other pertinent information, then call Tampa Bay Watch to report your findings For more information identifying derelict crab traps, please contact Serra Herndon, Environmental Scientist at Tampa Bay Watch at 727-867-8166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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