MDMR seeking volunteers for upcoming derelict crab trap cleanup

Register to volunteer for the Derelict Crab Trap Cleanup, Jan. 28-30

 In an effort to remove derelict crab traps from state waters, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) will conduct a crab trap closure for commercial and recreational crab fishermen in all Mississippi state waters located within one half (1/2) mile of the mainland shoreline and Deer Island from 6:00 a.m. Thursday, January 21, through 6:00 a.m. Sunday, January 31, 2021.

The schedule for the removal of crab traps is as follows:

Jan. 21 – 27 – All commercial and recreational crab fishermen must use this time to remove their own traps from Mississippi territorial waters. As a reminder, it is illegal to remove traps licensed to another person outside of the approved trap removal dates. This will be strictly enforced.

Jan. 28 – 30 – All traps remaining in the water will be considered derelict and will be removed and recycled. Volunteers may remove remaining traps from all state waters during these dates. Derelict traps may be dropped off at MDMR designated sites for recycling from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Point Park in Pascagoula, Ocean Springs Harbor and Pleasure Street Boat Launch in Bay St. Louis.

Jan. 31 – Beginning at 6 a.m., all active traps may be returned to closed waters and crab fishing may resume.

The Mississippi Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program has removed and recycled over 22,000 traps since its inception in 1999. It can take years for derelict crab traps to break down. Meanwhile, they can “ghost fish” which means they continue to catch crabs and other species. In addition to continuing to fish, derelict crab traps also can pose as navigational hazards or create entanglements in other gear such as shrimp nets. Removing derelict crab traps can help with reducing mortality of fish and blue crabs, improve aesthetics of waterways, and allow for safer navigation in our waters.

Volunteers interested in participating in this year’s program can contact the MDMR Shrimp and Crab Bureau at (228) 374-5000 for more information.