New York fishermen are already heavily regulated, and some will undoubtedly resist any additional rules. However, I have never met a crabber that wants to drown terrapins. I have personally pulled up crab traps containing dead and dying terrapins and it is awful. The Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Long Island Marine Program, a former baymen and former President of the Southampton Baymen’s Association, recalls that decades later, he still laments all the terrapins he unintentionally killed in traps. The crabber we worked with on design has already voluntarily installed excluders on all his traps. In this short video he shows how to install the devises and discusses how in addition to excluding terrapins, they actually help increase his catch of blue crabs by keeping out the large spider crabs. It is our hope, that over time, crabbers voluntarily utilize excluders, even where they are not required.
Readers are urged to express their support for the NYS DEC proposal by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading TERRAPIN EXCLUDER RULE prior to August 25, 2017. While supplies last, anyone with crab traps can, at no charge, obtain terrapin excluders by calling the NYS DEC Marine Invertebrate and Protected Species Unit at 631-444-0444.
Images below courtesy Grace Scalzo