Mississippi State University, Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, and Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese American Fisher Folks and Families have partnered together to clean up the Mississippi Sound.
Marine debris and derelict crab traps are a growing issue for local fisherman here on the Coast. Commercial Fisherman Derik Ross said, “Well, crab traps they will mess up your nets. They are just a pain to deal with. They will mess up your drag. You got 20 pounds on one side, you won’t have but five pounds on the side that has a crab trap in it so it costs us money, every trap we catch.”
A new environmental project is aiming to get the derelict crab traps and trash out of the water by having fishermen bring them in. Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United Executive Director Ryan Bradley said, “It really is a win-win for these shrimpers to help get these out of the waterways because it adversely affects not only them, but the entire fishing community.”
This project is funded by the EPA Gulf of Mexico and for every crab trap a fisherman brings in they will receive $5. “Often times shrimpers catch these traps in their nets while they are shrimping and it only makes sense to utilize these fishermen to bring these traps in and properly dispose of them.”
In addition to picking up the crab traps, 20 commercial fishermen have been given bags to collect trash and cameras so they can record what is in the water. Vietnamese American Fisher Folks and Families Director Thao Vu said, “It is a really good opportunity for the academic sector to partner with community based organizations and engage with the fishing communities here.”
If you would like to take part in this project you can register online at Mississippi State’s website by clicking here.