Crab Trap FAQ

What is a derelict crab trap?

Derelict crab traps are traps that have been abandoned or lost to sea. They are often bent, beat-up, or broken, and covered in barnacles, algae, and/or other marine life. Mississippi regulations stipulate that traps must either be missing a buoy or a tag to be considered derelict.

What is the point of the Derelict Trap Reward Program?

Derelict crab traps pose economic, navigational, and environmental hazards. The purpose of the Derelict Trap Reward Program is to encourage shrimpers to properly dispose of these traps year-round to make the Mississippi Sound safer, cleaner, and more profitable.

Is this run by the Department of Marine Resources?

No. This program is lead by the Mississippi State University Extension, Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United,  and NOAA Marine Debris Team. However, we are working with DMR to ensure the legality of the program.

Why is this program only targeting shrimpers?

In Mississippi, only licensed shrimpers can legally possess of derelict crab traps, as long as they were pulled up while shrimping (statute 49-15-92(4)). Anyone else in possession of a crab trap that they do not own may be fined.

I have a license to shrimp in Louisiana/Alabama, but not in Mississippi. Can I participate in this program?

Unfortunately at this time, no. However, we are working on setting up similar programs in Louisiana and Alabama in the future. Please email us if you would be interested in such programs, to bolster support for funding.

Can I bring in derelict traps from Louisiana and Alabama?

No. Only traps found in Mississippi waters can be turned in for a reward at this time.

I ran out of tags. Where can I get more?

Contact Alyssa Rodolfich at 601-336-2256 or

Why are you using metal tags?

Plastic pollution in the ocean is a significant issue. To try to mitigate the amount of trash generated by this program, we are using metal tags that can be re-used by shrimpers.

What do you do with the traps after I turn them in?

We will attempt to return the traps to their original owners if they are in good condition. If this is not possible, or if the owner does not want them, we will take the traps to the scrap yard and use this money to continue funding the program.

Where’s my reward money?
Because we pick up traps twice a month, it will take roughly 4-6 weeks to receive your reward money. You will receive a lump sum for all of the traps you turn in during that 2-week period.

I turned in traps before registering. Can I still receive the reward money?

No. By registering, we are able to track the number of traps turned in by each participant and reward them properly. If you did not register, we are unable to verify that you turned traps in.

Can I turn in other items of marine debris that I pull up in my trawls?

No. You will only receive compensation for derelict blue crab traps.