Diamondback terrapins often become trapped in crab pots, attracted by bait and trapped animals. Because terrapins require access to the surface in order to breathe, they often drown in crab pots. To prevent the loss of terrapins in traps, New Jersey law requires crabbers use plastic squares called Bycatch Reduction Devices or BRD’s in waters of less than 150 feet across at mean low water mark. These BRDs attach to trap openings and prevent terrapins from entering, but leave the hole large enough to catch full size blue crabs. If you, or anyone you know, is a crabber using commercial style pots, please encourage them to use these BRDs. They can be obtained free of charge from The Wetlands Institute or Hand’s Bait and Tackle, No Bones Bait Shop, Smuggler’s Cove, and Avalon Hodge Podge.
To learn more about terrapins and crab traps, visit https://wetlandsinstitute.org/conservation/terrapin-conservation/terrapins-and-traps/