CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — Volunteers earlier this month removed nearly 5,000 pounds of debris from coastal waters, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
What You Need To Know
- 14 vessels were used to remove derelict crab traps around the Ozello, Crystal River and barge canal areas
- A total of 4,974 pounds of debris was removed.
- More Citrus County headlines
Fourteen vessels were used to remove derelict crab traps around the Ozello, Crystal River and barge canal areas.
After about 2.5 hours of slogging through mud and looking along the shoreline during low tide, 194 derelict crab traps were removed.
After removal, the traps were counted, crushed and carried to the county landfill. A total of 4,974 pounds of debris was removed.
The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission estimates that 250,000 derelict blue crab traps are added to Gulf of Mexico waters each year. Once the traps have been separated from an identification float, they are difficult to see from the surface of the water, FWC said.
Oysters, algae and barnacles that grow on the traps can make that even worse. The derelict traps often become navigational hazards to boaters.
In addition to navigational hazards, these traps continue to trap marine life, which eventually die. This is commonly referred to as “ghost fishing.”
Trap contents encountered during this removal effort included sheepshead, blue and stone crabs, shrimp, and crown conch. Volunteers removed these animals from the traps and returned them to the water before the traps were brought to shore.