Regulations for Crab Traps

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by samba123, Dec 29, 2019.

  1. samba123

    samba123 New Member

    newbie here.... I purchased a few sets of crab traps from craigslist including trap, line, buoy etc....

    I want to ensure I am compliant. For someone new to crabbing, reading and trying to understand the rules and regulations for the specifics on what needs to be on a crab trap is very confusing. I have no issues on what info needs to be on the buoy.. that is simple and straight forward. But the info on the rot cord and escape circle is in my opinion very poorly described. Why don't they include some diagrams to ensure there is no confusion?

    The 2 regulations are listed below. Here are my questions.... If regulation in (1) requires 2 unobstructed circular escape holes or rings, then why do you need another one outlined in section 2 with a rot cord? Why would crabs wait for the cord to rot before leaving if they can leave through the 2 circular holes? Where can you purchase rot cord and in the diameter they specify?

    If anyone can help me with some clarity on this it would be appreciated.

    1. Crab traps are required to have two unobstructed circular escape holes or rings, measuring a minimum of 105 mm in diameter.

    2. Rot Cord - All crab traps must have a section in the top or sidewall that has been secured by a single length of untreated cotton twine no greater than No. 120 (approximately 5 mm or 3/16 inch diameter). This twine is often referred to as rot cord. On deterioration this must produce a rectangular opening with a minimum size of 7 cm x 20 cm, or a square opening with a minimum size of 11 cm x 11 cm. This regulation is intended to ensure that if the trap is lost, the section secured by the cord will rot, allowing captive crabs to escape, and preventing the trap from continuing to fish. On traps with a rigid frame and a freely opening hinged lid the trap lid must be secured by a single length of untreated cotton twine no greater than No. 120 so that the trap lid will open freely when the rot cord is broken. No other fastenings may impede the hinged lid of the trap from opening.
  2. habberdasher

    habberdasher Active Member

    Hi I found the rot cord and the escape rings at Trotac I used zap straps to attach the rings after making holes.
    I think the reason for the rot cord is so the keepers can get out of a lost trap?
  3. Rob H

    Rob H Active Member

    Samba123: The escape holes are to allow small (under legal size) crabs to escape the trap anytime after they enter the trap. This way they can escape being eaten by the larger legal and bigger crabs in the trap.

    The rot cord will allow all crabs to escape, even very large legal size crabs. This will stop the trap from catching and retaining crabs in a situation where it becomes lost on the bottom (rope to float gets cut off by passing boat or trap drifts away to unknown spot and continues to fish).
    Stizzla likes this.
  4. the butcher

    the butcher Well-Known Member

    I have always wondered about the rot cord. I just Googled it and the data says rot cord with rot away within 80 to 120 days in saltwater. If that's the case, if a crab was trapped in there, would it not be dead by 80 days or even worse by 120days if they did not have a food supply? In my experience, when I've left my crab traps overnight(and there wasn't enough bait in the trap) or for the few times where I did an overnight drop but couldn't pick up the next day due to winds kicking up.... In both scenarios, the bait cage was picked dry and not a single crab inside the trap. Once the food is gone they are set on a mission to get the hell out. They eventually figure out how to pull the one way swinging gate towards them to open from the inside and they are gone.

    And once the bait is gone, how does the trap continue to fish? I dont see any issues or complications with complying with the regulations on crab traps but was always curious as to the rationale behind the need for a rot cord. Perhaps they are concerned with larger fish going through the gates and not being able to get out?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2019
    Stizzla likes this.
  5. charlie415

    charlie415 Well-Known Member

    Not all traps are dine and dash.
    Slabbedout likes this.
  6. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    The crabs eat each other if they can't get out. New crab come in to get a taste of the meal. Perpetual killers. Eventually the cord rots out and they can escape.
    Canso likes this.
  7. Stizzla

    Stizzla Crew Member

    I agree, if I’m doing an overnight soak and the weather gets so snotty that I can get it for a couple of days my trap is like a ghost town. On the other hand, 95% of the time I only soak them for a few hours as I fish and I ALWAYS have 5-15 crabs in it. They must know how to get out.
    In the months it takes for the rot cords to rot there would be no bait left to get any to want to go in and any that are in there would get out or starve. I’ve personally never pulled up a dead crab
  8. Confused

    Confused Active Member

  9. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    I would say that by the time the rot cord rotted away any crab in the trap would have been consumed by any number of different critters.
    Regulations are what they are but I think this one is more of a good idea at the time but not really beneficial.
  10. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Are you guys serious? I just explained the science. New crabs keep coming in when there's dead crabs inside. It's a never ending killing machine. On the off chance that this could be true wouldn't you just trust the theory and roll with it? Is this causing you guys some great hardship to have a rot cord in place?
    Canso, jim morrow and mbowers like this.
  11. Stizzla

    Stizzla Crew Member

    No problem with the rot cord at all. Just saying they find their way out of my traps somehow
    Rain City likes this.
  12. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Poachers. Or add a small weight to your doors.
    Canso, Original and Stizzla like this.
  13. CatchAll

    CatchAll Member

    Crabs are cannibals. If they cant get out they eventually starve and die. New crabs come in to eat the dead crabs. They can’t get out and starve to death. Cycle never ends especially if you use heavy duty stainless commercial pots.
  14. Fish Rider

    Fish Rider Member

    I use pencil lead strapped on the doors to add weight. Pencil lead is perfect to adjust the weight by length. This way current won’t open the doors and it’s harder for the crabs to open the door once there in. Good Luck!!!
    Sotally Tober likes this.
  15. Newf

    Newf Well-Known Member

    I've got to ask the question because I'm sure that I'm missing something here. If adding weight makes it harder for them to get out once they are in there, wouldn't it also make it harder for them to get in there in the first place ???? Come on, please tell me I'm not the only one wondering about this. Lol
  16. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Not at all. The door still swings open easily, it just goes back down once they're through instead of getting stuck open in the current. That's the theory anyways. I actually zap strap two doors shut as well so there's more congregating room without blocking ingress. "Everyone to the back!"
  17. Newf

    Newf Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Soooo, the unweighted door can stay open due to current but the weight should bring it down. Got it. But since the door still opens easily, the "smart" crabs should still be able to push it open and get out once all the bait is gone. Will be adding some weight tomorrow to address the current issue. Hoping to double my catch in 2020.
  18. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Well they'd have to pull it open. If you put a pull sign on the door then they'll surely try and push it and be stuck for good ;)
    cracked_ribs, Stizzla, Newf and 2 others like this.
  19. Reeltime

    Reeltime Well-Known Member

    I've got the blue traps and zapped 2- 1 1/2-2" pencil led to each door, helped a lot, doesn't take much for those
    doors to blow open, or get lifted..
    Newf likes this.
  20. Slabbedout

    Slabbedout Active Member

    If you look at most good commercial traps the entrances actually have multiple individual wires /bars and are a little springy so it is less feasible for the entire entrance to be open and allow the keeper crabs out

    The cheap collapsible box traps work pretty good if you can weight the entrances properly and it’s less painful if someone decides they want to take your traps home
    Newf likes this.

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