Posted on May 13, 2022
| 4:03 pm
Abandoned lobster traps are seen as rife in the Santa Barbara Canal. (photo courtesy)
Community members are invited to help the Channelkeeper’s Watershed Brigade remove abandoned crab traps from Black Rock Beach below More Mesa, 8 a.m., Saturday, May 21.
More than 80 lobster traps have drifted ashore from a fishing ground off the Muri Mesa, and the Channelkee Channel Watershed Brigade plans to rally to remove the traps from the shore. Volunteers will use hand tools to dig out buried traps, remove rocks and debris, and set traps to remove them offshore into a commercial fishing boat.
Commercial fisherman Chris Foss of Santa Barbara Fishermen and his team will provide vessel support to load the traps and transport them to the Santa Barbara Port for appropriate recovery and disposal.
Abandoned lobster traps can become entangled with marine wildlife, releasing microplastics, creating safety risks for ships and beachgoers, and spreading on beaches like pollution. The US Department of Fish and Wildlife describes marine debris as “one of the most widespread threats to the health of the world’s coastal areas, oceans, and waterways.”
In 2017, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) implemented a lobster trap tag system to track lost equipment and help recover it. According to CDFW, during the 2019-20 season, a total of 6,503 lobster fisheries were reported lost off the California coast, a statistic considered low because it only reflects reported losses.
The Santa Barbara Channel has been identified as a hot spot for lost traps due to the high level of hunting and fishing efforts that occur here.
“It’s amazing what an excited group of community members can achieve when we work together as a team. We are excited about this opportunity to keep one of our local beaches once again pristine and gear-free. We hope that he will decide more Have volunteers join us.”
Volunteers will gather at the eastern end of the Goleta Beach parking lot (near Slough) and walk together 1.5 miles east down the beach to clear the traps. It is recommended that participants wear a hat, sunscreen, appropriate clothing for wading in the surfing area, and shoes that can get wet. It is also advisable to bring water, gloves and a towel to dry.
All volunteers will be required to sign waivers of liability. To register, visit https://bit.ly/3Pl3VVV.