Summer Habitat Restoration Opportunities
Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting volunteer boaters to remove abandoned crab traps from the bay during the temporary closure of blue crab fishery on Saturday, July 15. In Tampa Bay, it is estimated that there are hundreds of abandoned crab traps that have been accumulating in the water for decades. The temporary closure is a unique opportunity that only happens once every two years. It allows us to go out and remove any trap from the water because during the closed season, all blue and stone crab traps are considered derelict. Not just anyone can remove a trap. If you are interested in being involved, you must be a part of an organized effort that has been authorized by FWC such as our event on July 15.
Derelict crab traps are a problem for several reasons: they continue to ghost fish (fishing that continues despite the inactivity of the trap) killing not only the crabs but several other recreationally and commercially important species. They also pose a navigational hazard to boaters and can cause damage to valuable and sensitive habitats such as seagrass. Manatees, dolphins and sea turtles can also become entangled in the trap line causing injury or death.
Please let us know if you know of an area where there are a lot of derelict crabtraps so we can arrange to take care of them during the closure.
We are partnering with ReelCycle who will pick up all of the traps from each location and recycle all of the trap material.
Who: Anyone with a boat that is willing to help remove abandoned traps from the waters. Tampa Bay Watch will provide tarps, but your boat will get dirty. A limited number of spots may be available for participants that do not have boats (this will be on a waiting list basis).
When: Saturday, July 15 from 9am to noon
Where: We are recruiting volunteers for six different locations throughout the bay, so you can choose which location you would prefer to participate. The locations are:
- Belleair Causeway boat ramp in Belleair Bluffs
- Upper Tampa Bay at Courtney Campbell Causeway boat ramp
- Alafia River at Williams Park boat ramp
- We already have enough boats at Fort De Soto Park, Demen’s Landing & Cockroach Bay boat ramp