Abandoned Crab Traps

Abandoned Crab Traps photography by Peter Kingsley-SmithAbandoned crabs traps in our coastal marine and estuarine habitats are responsible for so-called "ghost fishing" that causes the death of target crab species, non-target finfish species, such as red drum and spotted seatrout, and other vulnerable species such as the diamondback terrapin.

Studies have shown that abandoned crab traps can be recovered from the environment and modified to support the development of oyster reefs. Oyster reefs provide a wide range of valuable ecosystem services by improving water quality, by providing habitat for a diverse range of finfish and invertebrates, and by protecting shorelines from erosion.

The objective of the following smart phone application is to gather detailed information on the distribution and abundance of abandoned crab traps along the South Carolina coast, in part to direct future crab trap recovery efforts.

The Marine Debris Tracker application was created by Jenna Jambeck and NOAA's Marine Debris Program.

Use the QR codes below for your Android or iPhone to go to the app store and download this free app or visit Marine Debris Tracker app.


Apple QR Code
Apple QR Code
Android QR Code
Android QR Code


Below are instructions to successfully record your abandoned crab trap information within the application.

Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative Logo

You can still report abandoned crab traps without a smart phone. E-mail us a brief description of the location (GPS coordinates preferred), date, and description of the condition of the crab traps (no floats, dead animals, visible only at low tide, etc.) at crabtraps@dnr.sc.gov

Thank you for your cooperation!