Tahoe Lobster Co. to expand to European market | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Lobster Co. to expand to European market

Tahoe Lobster Company is busy preparing for the 2014 harvest season with plans to expand to a European market. The company, now in its third year, will begin selling Lake Tahoe crawfish to buyers in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe after it starts dropping its traps in May. The expansion is necessary because the local market has been "a hard nut to crack," owner Fred Jackson said Thursday. People are used to larger-size crawfish, and the novelty of Lake Tahoe crawfish has partially worn off in the region. "We've got to stay diligent in what we do and adapt," he said. Ever since it received a permit in 2012 to start a commercial crawfish operation in Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Lobster Co. has been working hard to keep its mom-and-pop business afloat. In its first two seasons, the company had to endure significant monetary loss brought on by a thief stealing the company's traps. But now, Jackson said his business is having pains of a different kind: growing pains. "We're having growing pains in a good way," he said. Jackson hopes to run three boats this season, and he expects to bring in about 9,000 pounds of Lake Tahoe crawfish per month. That's double what the business brought in during its first year of operation. But with demand for the lake crustaceans high in Europe, Jackson is confident he'll move the product as businesses find the relatively clean crawfish — devoid of chemicals and pesticides — appealing. "Lake Tahoe is pretty pristine compared to all the tributaries on the West Coast," he said. Harvesting crawfish out of Lake Tahoe is a two-fold operation, Jackson said. On one hand, it can be profitable. But more importantly, removing the crustacean helps improve the lake's clarity. In South Shore, some businesses said they'd jump on board with the local crawfishing industry if demand for the dish was higher in town. "I've got crawfish in the past, and they weren't a big seller," said Ryan Grasley, manager at The Fresh Ketch. "I think some people, when they go out to eat, they aren't really willing to work for their food." The crawfish from the lake is good, said Peter Brinckerhoff, executive chef at Riva Grill and other eateries around the basin. But the product is still fairly new, and he hasn't chosen how to add it to the menu yet. "We've just got to find the right fit," he said. Jackson admits that changing the public's thinking about eating crawfish in Lake Tahoe could be difficult. Nevertheless, the company will continue to work hard to improve lake clarity while remaining a successful business on the way. "This isn't a get-rich-quick scheme," Jackson said. "A lot of guys have it in their head that they can do this, but it's a lot of work." Tahoe Lobster Co. will continue selling to Tahoe markets as it expands, he said. Testing before this season's harvest will begin in April.

Crawdad crook damages rise to $21,600

Tahoe Lobster Co. traps have continued to disappear from Lake Tahoe, threatening the lake's first commercial crawfish harvest operation. Tahoe Lobster Co. Owner Fred Jackson said 160 traps have gone missing since last fall, a loss of more than $21,000 including the lost crawfish haul. Four sets of 10 traps disappeared late last month from their location off the northeast shore, he said. "This year it hurt us pretty bad. We've sunk everything we had into this business," Jackson said. "What these guys are doing is craziness. It leaves me speechless. If they hit me again, it's not sustainable. I'm about ready to throw down the towel. I don't know what to do," But Jackson said he won't be driven away. On Tuesday, he pulled the crawfish traps from their current location between the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino in Incline Village, Nev., and Sand Harbor and relocated south to the waters off Skunk Harbor. Jackson says he is confident the thief belongs to the regional leisure sportfishing community, a hypothesis he said is supported by guides' testament and angry tirades against the commercial crawfish business posted on fishing forums. According to Jackson, the traps are definitely being stolen. He marks their location with a GPS and aligns the traps with landmarks on the shore. "It's someone who thinks he's a superhero, the X-Man of the sport fishing community. They think they're saving the trout fishery," Jackson said. Blue Ribbon Fishing Charters Operator Gene St. Denis agrees that the blame for the thefts probably lies with a recreational fisherman, but he said he doesn't know the individual or group responsible. "There have been rumblings in the background since he started this thing, but as far as figuring out who's taking the traps, I don't know. I think it's really poor form to do something like that," he said. Some regional outfitters contend that fish such as the trout and mackinaw rely on the crawfish for food. In a previous article, St. Denis said 50 to 70 percent of the fish he reels in have crawfish in their stomachs. But stomach content can sometimes be misleading, according to University of Nevada, Reno limnologist Sudeep Chandra. The food located in a stomach offers only a snapshot of a diet and not necessarily the animal's long-term energy source. The scientific data Chandra has seen indicates that while the trout and mackinaw do feed on crawfish, Mysid shrimp compose the bulk of their caloric intake. Chandra estimates that there are about 7 million pounds of crawfish crawling in Lake Tahoe. Tahoe Lobster Co., which caught about 4,500 pounds of crawfish last season according to Jackson, put less than a 1 percent dent in the Tahoe crawfish population. Nevada Department of Wildlife Spokesman Chris Healy said the agency's seasonal law enforcement met with Jackson last week to get the GPS coordinates of the traps. The NDOW boat patrols, which are increased during the summer boating season, will watch for suspicious activity. "We're not going to be able to sit on his traps for him, but we will keep an eye on them," Healy said. Healy also encouraged anyone with information to call the Game Thief hotline at 1-800-992-3030.

Tahoe Lobster Co. starts putting crawfish on plates

Crawfish gripped the decks of the Ellie June on Thursday as Fred Jackson and his nephew Justin Pulliam guided the boat from trap to trap off the shore of Sand Harbor, pulling up hundreds of crustaceans to sell to restaurants and casinos in Nevada. Jackson, owner of Tahoe Lobster Co., got the permit in July to start the first commercial fishing operation in Lake Tahoe since the 1930s. A dream that started two years ago when Jackson woke up one night with the idea to catch and sell crawfish has finally become a reality. “Everybody thought I was crazy,” Jackson said. It’s a project that benefits crawfish fans and Lake Tahoe alike, he said. Crawfish are an invasive species that have been linked to water clarity issues. As Jackson explains it, the animals are like cattle. As they graze along the lake floor, they release excrement, an aquatic form of Miracle-Gro, that causes more algae to grow and cloud the water. “‘Clarity by cuisine.’ The more you eat, the clearer it gets. Everybody’s involved with improving Lake Tahoe’s clarity,” Jackson said. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency recognized the crawfish as an invasive species in 2009, but it didn’t have the resources to fix the problem. Having a private company step in and do the work has been very beneficial, said Ted Thayer, program coordinator for the TRPA’s aquatic invasive species program. “I think it’s a great idea that private business has come in to remove the crayfish. It’s something that we wouldn’t have been able to do with public funds,” Thayer said. On Thursday, Jackson and Pulliam hauled in more than 200 pounds of crawfish. They bagged the animals on the boat before dropping them off at Sierra Gold Seafood Inc., a wholesaler based in Sparks, Nev., where Director Jim Crowell keeps the crawfish damp in the company’s cooler, ready for distribution at about $5 per pound. The price varies depending on the client. According to Jackson, the company has about 30 clients so far, ranging from small mom-and-pop restaurants to the behemoth casinos scattered on the South Shore. Crowell and his family-owned business do much of the marketing for Tahoe Lobster Co., and they’re responsible for getting the crustaceans to the kitchen doors. “The big reason I got involved is because I knew what the lake looked like in the ’70s and I know what it looks like now. I want my grandchildren to be able to enjoy the lake like I did. ” Crowell said. For Scott Lee, executive chef at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, the hauls have already been a big success. There isn’t a set schedule yet, but he said that, when it’s avaliable, he buys as much of the crawfish as he can. “My customers love it. They’re actually calling up and asking when we’re going to be serving the crawfish,” Lee said. Lee, Crowell and Jackson all agree Lake Tahoe crawfish are a league above their Louisiana relatives taste-wise, with a much cleaner and sweeter meat. It tastes just like Maine lobster, according to Jackson. “They’re better tasting than any crayfish I’ve ever tasted. It’s as close to a lobster as you can get,” Crowell said. Jackson, already looking towards the future, hopes to start using the smaller, less marketable crawfish as bait in the traps and buy a lobster boat for next year. He anticipates real growing pains in the company’s future as he starts to add crew and boats. At the moment, it’s just Jackson, Pulliam and sometimes Jackson’s wife, Stephanie, out on the lake putting in 12-hour work days that often start about 3 a.m. “Justin and I, we’re nothing special. We just had an idea, and we kept going after it. It was all perseverance,” Jackson said.

CA governor OKs Lake Tahoe crawfish bill

Anglers looking to cash in on the wealth of crawfish on the California side of Lake Tahoe are one step closer to being able to legally drop their traps. Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 165 last Friday, which repealed an existing law that banned the sale or purchase of crawfish taken from Lake Tahoe. Similar to a Nevada law adopted last year, the California law also states that any commercial take of crawfish is for the primary purpose of reducing the population. Before anglers can start trolling the California side of the lake, the Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations that govern the commercial take of crayfish must be re-written. Fred Jackson, owner of Tahoe Lobster Company, the area's most prominent commercial crayfish operation, expects the green light around the spring of 2014. "There's a time lag where they're going to have to re-write all the regulations," Jackson said. "It's the same situation we had with Nevada." Scientists estimate there are more than 240 million signal crawfish in Lake Tahoe. University of Nevada, Reno, researcher Sudeep Chandra believes the species is contributing to algae blooms and declining clarity in the lake's near-shore waters. "With the millions and millions of crayfish in Lake Tahoe, a mechanism that increases the demand for anglers and harvesters to take them out is going to benefit the lake," Tahoe Regional Planning Agency spokeswoman Kristi Boosman said. The California ban dates back to the late 1960s when a Swedish researcher was rumored to have sold nearly 100,000 Lake Tahoe crawfish to his country under the premise of research and re-population. At that time, Sweden's highly prized crawfish population had been decimated by a fungal outbreak. The Lake Tahoe breed was found to be immune to the fungus. In 1970, assembly member Eugene Chappie introduced a bill that would ban the commercial sale of crawfish. Thought to benefit Lake Tahoe, the tiny lobster-like crustaceans were on their way to being protected. "They're especially valuable in the shallows of Lake Tahoe because they act as a clean-up crew," famed limnologist Charles R. Goldman was quoted saying in a 1978 National Geographic article. "They'll eat harmful algae, dead fish and debris. "I've even seen them dining on a water-logged edition of the San Francisco Chronicle." Chappie's bill passed and the sale of crawfish from the Lake Tahoe Basin was banned, until now. Since, scientists have changed their view of the invasive species. They have been found to excrete nitrogen and phosphorous and provide invasive warm water fish like the small-mouth bass a food source. Assembly member Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, introduced AB 165 in May. "There will be many benefits to allowing for commercial fishing of crayfish in the Lake Tahoe region," Gaines said in a statement released at that time. "First, reducing the number of invasive crayfish will help the purity of the lake. Secondly, businesses can benefit by the sale of the crayfish, having a positive impact on the local economy while supporting local products." TRPA officials said there haven't been any new applications for commercial crayfish permits since July. Jackson said he expects a pretty significant boost in demand once the California regulations are finalized. "There are a lot of restaurants over there that are more local-minded and like this kind of cuisine," Jackson said.

Storms brew over crawfish

Tahoe Lobster Co., the first commercial fishing operation to come to Lake Tahoe since the 1930s, drew national attention, but it’s also worried some regional outfitters who say fish like the trout and mackinaw rely on the crawfish for food. Gene St. Denis, operator of Blue Ribbon Fishing Charters, started fishing Lake Tahoe in 1981. A trophy trout and light tackle specialist, St. Denis said 50 to 70 percent of the fish he reels in have crawfish in their stomachs. “They’re a significant food source for the freshwater fish of Tahoe. Saying the crawdads aren’t a primary food source for the fish isn’t good science,” St. Denis said. But stomach content can sometimes be misleading, according to University of Nevada, Reno limnologist Sudeep Chandra. The food located in a stomach offers only a snapshot of a diet and not necessarily the animal’s long-term energy source. The scientific data Chandra’s seen indicates that while the trout and mackinaw do feed on crawfish, Mysid shrimp compose the bulk of their caloric intake. To dive into Lake Tahoe is to get ensnared in a web of non-native versus invasive species. It’s a question of semantics that ultimately comes down to whether or not an introduced species is harmful to the environment and what sort of values society places on the animal. Mysid shrimp were introduced to the ecosystem in the 1960s to help improve fishing in the mountain lake. The animals, which are about the size of a quarter, proliferated and now number in the tens of millions. Though the shrimp are dubbed a non-native species, Chandra said that could be argued from a scientific perspective since the animals affect carbon dynamics in the lake. The trout and mackinaw that feed on both the crawfish – another invasive that’s been linked to water-clarity issues – and the shrimp were also introduced. Chandra estimates that there are about 7 million pounds of crawfish crawling in Lake Tahoe. Tahoe Lobster Co. has brought in about 4,500 pounds since they started hauling in traps last summer, according to TRPA senior fisheries and wildlife biologist Patrick Stone. That’s not even 1 percent of the total number of crawdads. “Unless the commercial operations really ramp up, there’s pretty much no way you could eliminate the crawfish population in the lake,” Chandra said. St. Denis agrees that Tahoe Lobster Co. won’t make much of a dent in Tahoe crawfish populations. But since the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency approved permits for four more crawfish-harvesting start-ups last month, St. Denis said he’s worried that might change. Tahoe fishermen have posted on the fishing forum website, ImHooked.com, to express their concerns about the crawfish harvest. Some writers were worried about snagging the submerged traps or about currents that would shift the traps to deeper water and make them unrecoverable. Tahoe Lobster Co. Owner Fred Jackson knows there are a lot of questions circulating the community. That’s why he’s scheduled a February meeting in Carson City where he plans to address some of the concerns raised by sports fishermen. Jackson said he can only talk about his business, but he hopes the meeting will spark more collaboration between the parties. “I don’t know how to approach it. It’s almost like a ‘kill Frankenstein’ mentality. Pitchforks and flames. The trout-fishing community has their way of doing things and we have ours. But science is on our side, and myths on theirs,” Jackson said.

Crawdad crook plying Tahoe waters

Tahoe Lobster Co. Owner Fred Jackson spotted the boat around 11 a.m. trolling near Dead Man’s Point, a spot where he’d dropped crawfish traps before. “He’s definitely pulling something up,” said Jackson as he motored quickly toward the other craft. As they drew closer, Jackson and his nephew Justin Pulliam decided that the man on board was searching for fish, not crawdads. But since the theft of 77 of the Tahoe Lobster Co.’s traps, Jackson has kept a closer eye on neighboring boats. Jackson received his permit to commercially harvest crayfish in July. Two months later, the first set of traps disappeared. The pair didn’t think much of the incident until 10 traps started disappearing about twice a month. Someone stole 20 traps just last week off the East Shore and losses total about $8,000, according to Jackson. “I just don’t know what to say. I don’t understand the mindset behind all this stuff. It’s such a good thing all around. This whole project is for the people in the basin. It’s a clarity issue, it’s a community issue, it’s a good deal,” he said. The Tahoe Lobster Co. doesn’t advertise the traps’ locations. White and pink floats marking the traps hover about 10 to 20 feet below the surface, and even Jackson and Pulliam sometimes have difficulty finding them with their GPS. Someone must be watching them, Jackson said. Jackson dreamed of creating the first commercial fishing operation in Lake Tahoe two years ago. Crawfish, an invasive species linked to water clarity issues, graze on the lake bottom and release excrement that causes algae to grow and cloud the water. By trapping the crustaceans and selling them to Nevada restaurants and casinos, Jackson hopes to improve water clarity by cuisine. With approximately 300 million crawdads living in Tahoe, Jackson figured he’d have plenty of product. He reached out to the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, but leads haven’t been forthcoming. Jackson said he still hasn’t heard back from the sheriff, while the Department of Wildlife is encouraging people to call the Operation Game Thief hotline if they have any information about the crimes. “We can use (the hotline) to gain leads if someone knows something. Because right now, we don’t have any leads. If everyone’s keeping their eyes and ears open, hopefully we’ll figure it out,” Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy said. The thefts come at an especially inopportune time for the Tahoe Lobster Co., which faces a challenging winter season and new competition. As temperatures drop, crawfish migrate to deeper water and become more difficult to harvest. After three hours of pulling traps Tuesday, Jackson and Pulliam hauled in about 75 pounds of crawfish. Three months ago, Jackson estimates they would have had at least double that amount. To top it off, four new parties have applied for commercial crawfishing permits in Lake Tahoe, applications that are on the Dec. 20 Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s hearing officer agenda. The applicants each need a permit from the agency to move forward with the harvest. When it comes to approving the applications, TRPA Senior Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist Patrick Stone said his role is to identify potential recreational and environmental impacts of the venture. “It is not my role to determine if a company is prepared to start or will be financially successful. My role is to review the application for compliance with the TRPA Code of Ordinance and to make the required findings. That said, I am also interested in seeing crayfish removal projects succeed in in controlling crayfish in Lake Tahoe,” Stone wrote in an email. Jackson doesn’t mind honest competition, but he said he’s not sure how the new applicants plan to develop their businesses. And after spending two years pioneering methods to harvest cold-water crayfish in Tahoe, he feels like the other crawfish entrepreneurs are jumping on the bandwagon. If they think they’ve tapped a get-rich-quick scheme, they’re in for a surprise, Jackson said. “I think they’re in for an eye-opening experience. All it is is a lot of work for very little money. I feel like a farmer,” Jackson said. Before the other boats hit the water, Jackson needs to put an end to the thefts. He doesn’t know if the traps were pilfered by random boaters or if it was an act of deliberate sabotage, but Jackson said he plans to be smarter about where they lay the traps. He’s received many emails about how to protect the traps –one of which came all the way from Nova Scotia – and he hopes the thefts will end as word spreads. “They’re not going to stop us. There are broken people everywhere, but you just wouldn’t expect them here,” Jackson said.

Boil ‘n Fry Day all about Tahoe lobster

Tahoe Lobster Co. owner Fred Jackson lifted wiggling bags full of fresh crawfish from his big red truck onto the loading dock at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa Friday afternoon. He'd just come from the dock. "I just picked up about 137 pounds out of the lake about 10 minutes ago," Jackson said. The 500 pounds of crayfish are for Lake Tahoe's first Boil & Fry Day, an all-day event centered around the miniature lobsters. The outdoor party will feature lawn game tournaments, music, beers and, of course, a whole heap of Tahoe crayfish. "This is the first event that Tahoe's thrown for their little lobster friend from the lake," Jackson said. "It's awesome, actually." The publicity surrounding the party is a much-needed boost for Tahoe Lobster Co., Jackson said. The buzz about Lake Tahoe's only commercial fishery started to wear off a little this year, he added. "This year has been slow," Jackson said. "[Distributors] would rather push peel-and-eat shrimp, than the live crawfish." Jackson said part of the problem is chefs who want to make dishes out of the crawdads rather than serve them whole as is tradition. At Boil 'n Fry Day, the crawfish will be served in the classic Southern-style boil. "It seems like a deep-seated tradition to a lot of people," event organizer Tim Manas said. "A lot of people have friends from the South or family from the South. And it's the kind of event that just pulls people together." Manas will use a secret combination of seasonings that's straight from New Orleans to flavor the crawfish, he said. Attendees will be able to buy a dinner plate with 1 pound of the little lobsters, kick back and pick the meat from the shells. Manas has been doing the Boil 'n Fry Day for several years in Sacramento. Last year, the restaurant he was working with was sold to new owners who were uninterested in the event. Manas began looking for a new venue. When he started doing production for MontBleu, it all came together. "I always wanted to incorporate food into a festival," Manas said. "I put everything together, just kind of jumped on it and ran with it." Crayfish harvest slowing down The commercial harvest of crayfish was approved on the Nevada side of the lake last year. Jackson, who spearheaded legislation to allow the fishery, has been filling orders since the day it passed. But there haven't been as many this year, he said. "Last year was better," Jackson said. "This year is kind of a struggle, but we're getting through it." The total sales dropped this year compared to last, he said. Losing dozens of traps to thieves hasn't helped either. The buzz surrounding the harvest has died down since Nevada allowed the commercial harvest. At the time, several large media outlets, including The New York Times, trumpeted the new business. "The local community has kind of backed off for some reason," Jackson said. "It's kind of weird." Jackson hopes California will allow commercial fishing of the crayfish in the state's waters by next year. This will open up a lot more room for growth, Jackson said. "That'll open up about 70 percent of restaurants on the lake," he said.

Nev. bill introduced to prevent theft of commercial crayfish traps

A bill was introduced in the Nevada Assembly Monday that would prohibit a person from stealing a lawfully placed trap used in the commercial harvest of crayfish or other of the state's aquatic denizens. The bill, AB 452, is based on Louisiana's anti-poaching laws and beefs up the penalties for trap theft, Tahoe Lobster Co. Owner Fred Jackson said. Under the proposed law, crawfish crooks could face time in prison, according to Jackson. Jackson, who launched the first commercial crayfish harvesting company in Lake Tahoe last year, first reported about 80 traps stolen in late 2012. Just two weeks ago, another 10 traps disappeared, he said. "I think (the bill is) a good thing. We're going to have a lot more people on the lake this summer and hopefully this will go through," Jackson said. There was no upcoming hearing scheduled for AB 452 as of Tuesday.

TRPA expands Tahoe crawfish harvest

As many as seven commercial crawfish harvesting operations could be up and running at Lake Tahoe in 2013. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency approved permits for four crawfish harvesting start-ups at a Thursday hearing in Stateline. Two more people have requested information on taking part in the ongoing pilot project, said Patrick Stone, TRPA senior fisheries and wildlife biologist. Don Henrichsen, Viet Vo, Tahoe Blue Crayfish Co. and High Sierra Ventures each received approval from the agency to begin commercially catching the crustaceans. The future crawfishermen each need approvals from the Nevada Department of Wildlife and Nevada Division of State Land to proceed, Stone said. Specifics of each harvester’s plans, such as the type of traps used, the general location of the traps and the number of traps per string, will also be reviewed by the TRPA. Crawfish harvesters are prohibited from setting traps within 1,000 feet of drinking water intakes and boat-launching facilities, as well as within 50 feet of all lake structures, to prevent interfering with the operation of the facilities and intakes. Commercial harvesters are also required to sell their catch to food wholesalers and retailers, meaning they can’t sell them “off the dock,” Stone said. Crawfish harvesting is currently restricted to the Nevada side of the lake. Tahoe Lobster Co. began harvesting crawfish this summer in an effort to reduce the population of the invasive species, which numbers in the tens of millions, impacts native fisheries and adds to the lake’s clarity issues by fueling algae growth. The company has brought in about 45,000 crawfish – 4,500 pounds worth – in the months since it began operating, but has yet to make a dent in the population, Stone said. “We have evidence that we can use this method to effectively remove crayfish from the lake bottom,” Stone said Thursday. Exactly how effective the commercial harvesting effort is at reducing the number of crawfish in Lake Tahoe requires additional data, according to the biologist.

Tahoe Lobster Co., anglers meet to discuss crawfish harvest concerns

Representatives of the Tahoe Lobster Co. met Thursday with several South Shore anglers to discuss concerns that the crawfish harvest will negatively impact fishing in Tahoe. Tahoe Lobster Co., the first commercial fishing operation to come to Tahoe since the 1930s, acquired the permit to catch and sell the crustaceans in July. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and other organizations have praised the company’s efforts to remove the invasive species from the lake, but some sportfishermen worry that they’ll lose lures on the submerged traps. Fred Jackson, owner of Tahoe Lobster Co., opened the discussion Thursday at the Tahoe & Truckee River Fisheries Coalition meeting by stating his desire to foster open communication between the two parties. “I’d like to work with these guys and actually give them a map of where we’re working. I’m willing to do anything with the fishing community. I can’t speak for anybody else but my business, but we’re here to open the dialog,” Jackson said. Operator of Blue Ribbon Fishing Charters Gene St. Denis and Leonard O’Malley of O’Malley Fishing Charters —the only licensed outfitters at Thursday’s meeting —said their primary concern was snagging the submerged traps with fishing lines. If a guide catches a trap with the lure, it will cost him or her valuable time and equipment, O’Malley said. That scenario could be the reason behind the loss of almost 80 Tahoe Lobster Co. traps that disappeared last fall. Jackson posited that an inexperienced fishermen might have hooked the line before throwing the catch back into the water. And the anglers don’t want to be held responsible for accidentally pulling up a trap. “It’s a challenge to me. I take people out sport fishing, so if I don’t know where your traps are and I come across it and I get snagged up with a $30 lure … If I get caught in your traps, I got to put that time back onto my client’s time. I don’t want you to think I’m taking your traps,” O’Malley said. If more crawfish companies start to drop traps, the anglers worry that areas of shoreline could become “minefields” for guides. TRPA Senior Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist Patrick Stone said Thursday he’s received one application and heard from three other interested groups since the agency approved four more crawfish permits last year. Jackson said it’s too expensive to mark each trap with a Coast Guard-approved buoy, but he could float two buoys to mark the area where the company had laid traps. Stone suggested that the TRPA could create an email list or website with the GPS coordinates of the markers that would be available to sportsfishermen. Both St. Denis and O’Malley approved of the potential solution, stating that the more information the fishing community has, the better. “We’re willing to do this right … It’s always learning to avoid things, and I think we can do that with what we’ve discussed here,” St. Denis said. “We can give that a shot. And I’ll do everything I can to press the word on that, ‘Hey, lets be professional and give the devil its due.’”