If you can't go scuba diving today, this underwater video is a pretty decent alternative.
One clever man attached a GoPro to his crab trap and proceeded to film a "Day In The Life Of A Crab Trap" off the coast of Bunbury, Western Australia. The footage is an action-packed glimpse of life on the seafloor.
Upon deploying the trap, fish -- likely western-striped grunter -- immediately start devouring the bait. Blue swimmer crabs soon approach and take over, swatting at the fish to claim the bait and their fate. Just when you think the action is subsiding, a few individuals from the class Chondrichthyes -- a group of cartilaginous fish including sharks, skates and rays -- make surprise appearances. Who knew crab traps could serve as biodiversity hotspots?
When handling crab traps and crab pots, it's important to keep other marine life in mind. Crab pots that are left along wetland and shore edges can become exposed at low tide, harming crabs and other marine life caught in the pot. Abandoned, or "ghost," crab traps and pots can also add to marine debris and trap and kill other marine life.
NOAA estimates that there are about 30 ghost pots per kilometer in the York River in Virginia and 120 pots per kilometer for the South River in Maryland -- which could add up to be a huge loss to blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, catches should always remain within state regulations -- including adhering to daily catch quotas, size requirements and the harvest season -- to keep the fishery sustainable.
The Department of Fisheries of Western Australia describes blue swimmer crabs as "powerful swimmers and voracious hunters and scavengers." They inhabit estuaries, sheltered bays and coastal waters along western and eastern Australia. Though some blue swimmer crab fisheries in Western Australia closed after population declines, the Australian Marine Conservation Society considers these crustaceans a "better choice" -- the highest of three possible listings for sustainable seafood.