Lost and abandoned spiny lobster, stone crab and blue crab traps have been identified as a problem in Florida's marine environment by various stakeholder groups, including the commercial fishing industry. Once traps become lost or abandoned, they may spark user conflicts, "ghost fish" (continue to trap marine organisms until traps degrade enough to allow escape), visually pollute, cause damage to sensitive habitats, and also become hazards to navigation.
Traps may remain in the water during a closed season for many reasons. They can move during storms, making them difficult to locate; they may be snagged by passing vessels and dragged to another area; or they are illegally abandoned by their owners for various reasons.
Volunteer groups may remove derelict traps and trap debris from state waters when they organize a cleanup event and obtain authorization from the FWC. These volunteer cleanup events may take place during the open or closed seasons, and must adhere to guidelines established in Rule 68B-55, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.).
How to sign up
Authorization to conduct a volunteer group cleanup event may be obtained by submitting an application form to Cleanuptraps@MyFWC.com. An application form may be downloaded from the list of resource links.
Please note: The FWC does not organize or coordinate volunteer group trap cleanup events. If you are interested in participating in an organized derelict trap cleanup event, please contact the event organizer for information on how you may volunteer.
Links for more information: