Pilot Study Utilizing Discarded Crab Traps as Settlement Substrate for American Oyster, Crassostrea virginica in three distinct locations along the South Carolina Coast: Beaufort, Charleston and McClellanville – Year II
- Make use of otherwise abandoned or discarded crab traps as substrate for Oyster.
- Determine effectiveness of crap traps as oyster substrate in three locations along South Carolina's coast and after three years evaluate subsequent yield by these traps.
- This pilot study could be used to jump start a crab trap recycling program similar to the oyster shell recycling program already in effect.
Abandoned or lost blue crab traps are a persistent concern of the DNR. Traps may be brought to shore and discarded, but many are simply crushed and thrown back into the water or left on the bank. Many are lost because of cut buoy lines or displacement by storms or large tides. DNR has observed that lost traps that end up in intertidal areas typically become covered with oysters and even form mini-reefs. We are interested in experiments to examine the practicality of using old traps as dedicated oyster settlement substrate. This would help solve the abandoned pot problem while also helping with restoration of the oyster resource.
Oystermen will be contracted from three locations: Beaufort, Charleston and McClellanville. These oystermen will establish three stations at each location consisting of 15 to 20 traps per station. The traps will be of a uniform size and shape, placed mud bottom and arranged in a "V" pattern from near high intertidal to near low intertidal. All traps will be modified by closing their vents to eliminate "ghost fish" during the study. The traps will also be staked down and tied together so they will remain on station. Every quarter for three years oystermen will return to each station to photograph settlement, assess damage and make repairs, measure individual oysters at random and relay this information back to DNR. After three years, traps chosen at random will be removed and examined to quantify total yield. All the collected data will be analyze, summarized and submitted to DNR in a final report.