NOLA.com: Save Our Lake Director Concerned about Crab Numbers in Pontchartrain

by / Newsroom Ink on May 5, 2013
Crabbing in Lake Pontchartrain and its surrounding waterways is typically a productive recreational and commercial activity, but crab numbers were off last year, and it looks like they may be down again this year.

Crabbing in Lake Pontchartrain and its surrounding waterways is typically a productive recreational and commercial activity, but crab numbers were off last year, and it looks like they may be down again this year. Lake crabber Keith Watts, Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing board member, as well as board member for the Crab Task Force, agrees with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation’s assessment. Photo: Ed Lallo/Louisiana Seafood News

by Todd Masson/NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

The Lake Pontchartrain crab fishery saw a down year in 2012, and it’s setting up to be even worse this year, according to John Lopez, coastal sustainability program director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

There are a number of culprits that could be to blame, but one of the prime suspects, Lopez said, is 2010’s BP oil spill.

“The crabs lay their eggs out in the Gulf of Mexico, and it takes about three years for those crabs to mature, so if you think about it, we’re now three years after the oil spill, and if there was an impact to the eggs — if they were damaged out in the Gulf three years ago — it could be manifested just now because this is the time those eggs would be mature crabs,” Lopez said.

Lopez explained that crabs are an important link in the food chain, since so many predators, including black drum, redfish and even speckled trout, eat them. Any decline in crab numbers could eventually be felt by anglers who target these game fish.

Lopez, who lives in Slidell, runs traps in the lake to catch crabs for family boils, and he also stays in contact with commercial crabbers and commercial processors, like Pontchartrain blue crab. He said there’s virtually unanimous consensus that the numbers are down.

Read NOLA.com article.

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About the Author

About the Author: Ed Lallo is the former editor of Gulf Seafood News and CEO of Newsroom Ink, an online brand journalism agency. .

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