AUSTIN — Each February for 19 years, countless volunteers spend 10 days on the water along the Texas coastline searching the bays for abandoned crab traps left to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines, “ghost fish,” and create unsightly views. To date, they’ve hauled off more than 38,000 of these derelict traps.

From February 19th through the 28th, 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. Volunteers are urged to wear masks and keep socially distance from those not in your household when appropriate. In an effort to facilitate volunteer efforts, several sites along the coast will have clean-up events on February 20 from 8am until noon. These sites are denoted as “facilitated” in the list below. Registration with partner organizations may be required. 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. 20 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed prior to Feb. 19 or after Feb. 28.

The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, Galveston Bay Foundation, San Antonio Bay Partnership, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program. Numerous other organizations and companies also are volunteering their services.

To participate, volunteers may pick up free

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