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Tampa Bay Ghost trap Rodeo 2019 Tampa Bay

Hosted by CCA of Florida and Ocean Aid 360

The Ghost Trap Rodeo event series is organized like your favorite shallow water fishing tournaments, but instead of weighing in fish, we’ll be weighing in abandoned crab traps, fishing gear, and other forms of marine debris found during your four (4) hour search – with $25,000 in prizes to top volunteer marine debris wranglers!

– Six events, one per month (October to March 2019)
– Participate in one, some, or all of the six events!
– Participation is free!
– Event t-shirts and refreshments will be provided for free!
– Register to ensure enough giveaways for your team
– Event launch+weigh-in addresses will be posted on the event registration page!

WHY ARE WE HAVING A GHOST TRAP RODEO? – Ghost fishing, which is unattended fishing by lost and abandoned fishing gear (such as traps, nets, monofilament line and lures) until the gear is degraded enough to allow for escape, is a real problem throughout the state of Florida. The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission estimates that 250,000 derelict crab traps are added to the Gulf of Mexico waters each year. In Florida, hundreds of thousands of traps are fished year around, with between 30% and 50% of those traps lost, annually, to continue ghost fishing. Tampa Bay is home to a vibrant crab fishery, for both stone crabs and blue crabs, with both recreational and commercial participants experiencing occasional trap losses – especially after a named storm such as Hurricane Irma (September 2017). Today, best estimates put Tampa Bay’s number of active ghost traps somewhere near 10,000 traps. These traps kill their intended species, plus a variety of unintended bycatch species; and these traps decrease our natural resources through unchecked kills (examples: stone crabs, sheepshead, rays), accidental entanglements (examples: sea turtles, manatees, saw fish), and essential fish habitat damage. The Ghost Trap Rodeo event series is an opportunity for knowledgeable local anglers and boaters to come together and launch their shallow draft vessels and paddle-craft (or wading boots!) in search of these ghost traps and other types of marine debris, to participate in citizen science for the conservation of the Tampa Bay estuary, and with the opportunity to win a great prize – like a PowerPole Shallow Water Anchoring System, Costa Polarized Sunglasses, Engel Cooler, or West Marine Gift Card! Refreshments and event apparel will be provided for free to registered volunteer wranglers! – We hope to see you there!

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