Abandoned Crab Traps

Abandoned Crab Traps photography by Peter Kingsley-SmithAbandoned crabs traps in our coastal marine and estuarine habitats are responsible for so-called "ghost fishing" that causes the death of target crab species, non-target finfish species, such as red drum and spotted seatrout, and other vulnerable species such as the diamondback terrapin.

Studies have shown that abandoned crab traps can be recovered from the environment and modified to support the development of oyster reefs. Oyster reefs provide a wide range of valuable ecosystem services by improving water quality, by providing habitat for a diverse range of finfish and invertebrates, and by protecting shorelines from erosion.

The objective of the following survey is to gather detailed information on the distribution and abundance of abandoned crab traps along the South Carolina coast, in part to direct future crab trap recovery efforts.

Take the Survey

Important: Please do not make any effort to recover any crab traps that you believe are abandoned yourself. Validation of the status of crab traps will be conducted prior to any recovery efforts.

If you are in possession of unwanted crab traps that you wish to donate to this habitat enhancement program, please e-mail us at the following address: crabtraps@dnr.sc.gov.