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Resource management staff have removed derelict lobster and crab traps, rope, and other debris littering coral reefs in the park.
“We are pleased to report that approximately 106 intact abandoned traps, 305 pieces of traps and other debris, and over 2.7 miles (4,300 meters) of rope have been removed from park reefs, and nearly 200 spiny lobsters and stone crabs were released alive back into park waters,” says Amanda Bourque, Biscayne National Park biologist. Intact traps and broken trap pieces alike harm valuable reef resources by “ghost fishing” and crushing reef structure, living reef organisms, and historic resources such as shipwrecks. Line from traps and buoys become entangled in the reef, killing organisms like stony corals, sea fans, and sea whips. Resource damage is exacerbated during storms and hurricanes, when traps and debris are moved around the reef by strong wave and current activity.
The 2-week project that began in June 2007 - after the official closure of lobster and stone crab seasons - was contracted to Continental Shelf Associates of Jupiter, Fl and authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The project was funded by a vessel grounding case settlement obtained through the Park System Resource Protection Act, federal legislation that gives the National Park Service the authority to seek funds to repair, restore or replace damaged park resources.
For additional information on this and other restoration projects in the park, please contact Amanda Bourque at 305-230-1144, x3081.