Friday, July 15, 2011

Returning the Favor

The pile of derelict crabs traps at Card Sound piled high by the end of the day

It's easy to enjoy Florida Bay and Everglades. The large expanses of shallow water and open space make this area critical for fisheries and the livelihoods of countless people. There's always a challenge, however, with managing such vast landscapes and protecting them from misuse. The Fish and Wildlife Commission as well as park officials, do a great job enforcing laws and holding citizens accountable for their actions. However, there are far too many boat ramps and backcountry hideouts to stay vigilant all the time.  Often times, the burden falls upon the shoulders of individuals to step up and do their part in protecting what they have come to love. When people pool their efforts together, there's so much you can accomplish.

Last Sunday 35 people from the Keys to Homestead met at the Card Sound boat ramp to clean up the basin. This area is particularly abundant with stone crabs, blue crabs, and lobsters which attract trappers in the open season. When the season closes, however, the unmarked crab traps are often forgotten about or left to harvest illegally throughout the year. Derelict crab traps are a huge problem in the area as they pose major threats to terrapin, fish, and crabs that continue to enter the traps. After four hours, with the help of the airboat community, concerned boaters, and volunteers from Audubon we managed to pull out 230 traps. Not to mention various articles of trash including 8 tires, a TV, buckets, PVC pipes, a machete, and other items. It was a good day for the Everglades and a proud day for everyone that got to pitch in and protect something they love.  

A stone crab in Florida Bay

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