HOUMA, La. (AP) — Scientists are asking crabbers to report lost traps to guide future cleanups.
More than 1,400 traps lost in Hurricane Isaac already have been reported to the database, Julie Anderson, an assistant professor and fisheries specialist with Louisiana Sea Grant and the LSU AgCenter, told The Courier (http://bit.ly/PMaPhC).
"It's difficult to collect accurate statistics on the number of traps lost each year," she said "If recreational and commercial crabbers report their gear losses, this data will help guide future cleanups and will benefit the scientific community and crab management as well."
Crab traps can be lost when the ropes connecting floats to the cage are severed by storms, accidental catch in other gear, vandalism or the propellers of other boats.
Fish and blue crabs still swim into the traps, which also pose a hazard to boaters and can damage fishing nets.
Commercial and recreational crabbers can report lost gear online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/LMHYN7P, or by leaving a phone message at 225-578-6352.
Contact information is optional. "Any contact information will only be used if we need to clarify the information provided," said Paula Ouder, editor with Louisiana Sea Grant.
She said the database can use as much information as possible including the date lost, the number of traps and the location.
The university groups are working with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on the Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program.
Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com