The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife has announced dates for removal of abandoned crab traps along the coast. Each February, volunteers spend 10 days on the water along the Texas coastline searching the bays for abandoned crab traps. To date, they’ve hauled off more than 32,000 of these derelict traps.

Between Feb. 16-25, Texas coastal waters will be closed to crabbing with wire mesh crab traps to facilitate the annual volunteer crab trap cleanup. Any traps left in bays — including traps tied to docks — will be assumed abandoned and considered “litter” under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find.

Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the numerous traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup. To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will provide crab trap drop-off sites at locations in each major bay system along the coast from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 17, weather permitting. Additionally at all sites, dumpsters or collection areas marked with banners will be available to receive traps for the duration of the closure. Volunteers may focus their efforts on Feb. 17 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed prior to Feb. 16 or after Feb. 25.

To participate, volunteers may pick up free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries field stations. In the Coastal Bend, you may drop off the traps at the South Conn Brown Harbor Public Ramp (Bigelow Street,Aransas Pass, TX 78336) and Ransom Channel Public Ramp (Ransom Drive, Aransas Pass, TX 78336). There are also dropoff locations at Bluff’s Landing Marina (4242 Laguna Shores Road, Corpus Christi, TX 78418) and Kaufer-Heubert Memorial Boat Ramp (FM 628 Exd Riviera, TX 78379).

All other legal means of crabbing will not be affected during the closure period for wire crab traps. For more information, contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries office.