Crab traps catch more than crustaceans at Naples Pier

It’s safe to say a storm can cause some things to move around. A variety of items in the ocean can get moved. And that’s not good for swimmers and marine life.

On Wednesday the Conservancy of Southwest Florida helped untangle a big mess of crab traps and more for two hours, as divers went beneath the Naples Pier to help free marine life caught in them.

“It’s all just big knots and ropes floating around in the water,” said Ray Erickson with the conservancy.

A dozen stone crab and blue stone crab traps, a dozen buoys and lines, two large cast nets and two fishing poles were all pulled out of the water at the pier.

“Storms have been blowing them in,” Erickson said. “If the crabbers don’t know they’re there, I guess they wouldn’t know to come look for them under the pier.”

Erickson said there was at least 100 yards of crab trap line and rope found near the pier, which can be dangerous for other marine life such as a goliath group they found caught in some of the line.

“Some of the blue crab and stone crab traps also had fish in them along with traps,” Erickson said. “And we released them, so they were put back in the water.”

Erickson said there is no way to tell when the trapper put their equipment in the water but said it’s important for trappers to monitor them.

Naples Police Department, Naples Fire-Rescue and Collier County Sheriff’s Office rescued a few fish and crabs this time.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers contacted the trap owners to come pick up their equipment within the next 30 days.

“Anytime you see the environment where it’s not taken care of as best as it can be, it’s always detrimental to the animals,” Erickson said. “And it’s also detrimental to us, as we go there and look and see things that are deteriorating and decaying.”

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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