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NOAA Marine Debris Program Participates in Bonus Tampa Bay Ghost Trap Rodeo

JULY 22, 2019 — On July 13, Charles Grisafi, Florida and Caribbean Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, participated in a special “bonus” Ghost Trap Rodeo event in Tampa Bay.

People posing with crab pots and debris.
Ghost Trap Rodeo event participants celebrate a successful day removing marine debris from Tampa Bay. Image credit: Ocean Aid 360.

This event marked the end of the Rodeo event series, funded by a NOAA Marine Debris Program FY19 community-based removal grant to Ocean Aid 360. For this bonus event, Ocean Aid 360 also partnered with Tampa Bay Watch, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and the Coastal Impact Fund. The bonus round corresponded with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s regional crab trap closure, established to identify and retrieve lost and abandoned blue and stone crab traps from Florida waters. During this closure, all blue and stone crab traps remaining in the water could be removed with appropriate permits. 

The bonus event was a huge success, with Rodeo activities being held simultaneously in six different locations around Tampa Bay. A special guest from Senator Marco Rubio’s office kicked off the Rodeo by providing opening remarks and words of encouragement for event participants. Over 55 boaters, anglers, and industry representatives from the local community participated, and a total of 34 vessels competed. Collectively, these vessels removed almost 200 derelict crab traps throughout Tampa Bay! The Ghost Trap Rodeo series has been a great way for community members to join together and contribute to the conservation of their local waterways. Over the course of the project, Rodeo participants removed approximately 26,000 pounds of marine debris from Tampa Bay! 

For more information, please contact Charles.Grisafi@noaa.gov.

Return to OR&R Weekly Report.

Four people posing with crab pot and debris.
Rodeo participants from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Ocean Aid 360, and Senator Marco Rubio’s office work together to remove derelict traps from Tampa Bay. Image credit: Ocean Aid 360.