Crab Task Force to Meet January 9 at 1:00 p.m.

Louisiana Crab Task Force Meeting

Pete Gerica, Chairman

Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 1:00pm

UNO Advanced Technology Center

2021 Lakeshore Dr., Room 210

New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

AGENDA

I. Roll Call and Introduction of Guests
II. Approval of October 10, 2017 Minutes and January 9, 2018 Agenda
III. Financial Report
IV. New Business
A. Discussion of an Amendement to the Two-Month Crab Season Closure Wherein, the Harvest of all Crabs would be Included in the Closure of the Season for an Entire Month and to Consider Scheduling the Closure Earlier in the Year- Representative Jerry Gisclair
B. To Hear an Update on the 2018 Derelict Crab Trap Closures- Peyton Cagle
C. To Hear a Presentation on Crab Import Data- Jack Isaacs
D. To Submit 3 CTF Nominations for Consideration to be Appointed to the Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board  – CTF
E. Discussion of Blue Crab Bycatch Regulations/ Limit Proposal- George Jackson
F. Discussion of Task Force Name Tags and T-Shirts- Warren Delacroix
G. Discussion of Crab Task Force Ethics Requirements- Warren Delacroix
H. Officer Elections
V. Public Comment
VI. Set Next Meeting
VII. Adjourn

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend.  To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2203924166716895747

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LDWF Warns Public of Potential Fish Kills Due to Freezing Temps

As an arctic blast continues to move across the state, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to warn the public of potential fish kills throughout coastal Louisiana as a result of freezing water temperatures.

It is still too early to determine what, if any, impact the cooler temperatures may have on fish populations. Many fish that may have been killed by the freeze would still be on the bottom of water bodies, and may not be visible for a week or more.

Coastal species commonly impacted by low water temperatures are sand seatrout, (a.k.a. “white trout”), red drum, black drum, and spotted seatrout.

“Typically water temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for any more than a day begin to cause problems for spotted seatrout, whereas red drum are slightly more tolerant and will begin to experience problems in the mid-30s,” explained LDWF fisheries biologist Jason Adriance. “The rate at which the water cools is also important. If fish have a chance to acclimate and move, the potential for survival is better.”

More definitive estimates of the effects of the freeze on fish population sizes and distribution within the coastal areas will be available as information is collected through the department’s fishery-independent monitoring programs.  Later, success rates from fishery-dependent monitoring, including both recreational and commercial sampling, will provide an indication of how the changes in population sizes affected the harvest.

Should you come across significant numbers of dead or dying fish, LDWF encourages you to contact the department. Contact information along with requested reporting specifics, is available here: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fish-kills.  Important information to include in your report are your name and phone number in case additional information is needed, along with the location including good directions to the fish kill site, the approximate numbers and species that you saw, and their condition (still dying, all dead, decomposing, etc.).

Louisiana Shrimp Watch- Nov. 2017

Louisiana specific data portrayed in the graphics are selected from preliminary data posted by NOAA on their website. All data portrayed are subject to final revision and approval by NOAA.  Shrimp landings are ex-vessel prices, inclusive of all species harvested. Missing, inadequate or withheld reports are portrayed as “zero” in these graphics. Price graphics reflect central Gulf states only (Texas and Florida are reported independently). For more information, please refer to: www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/market_news/index.html.

MonthPriceYearYTD

FB17-077 Request for Comments: Intent to Develop a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Coral Habitat Areas Considered for Management in the Gulf of Mexico

Request for Comments: Intent to Develop a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Coral Habitat

     Areas Considered for Management in the Gulf of Mexico

 

 

KEY MESSAGE:

NOAA Fisheries, in collaboration with the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council (Council), intends to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Amendment 9 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Coral and Coral Reef Resources of the Gulf. Coral Amendment 9 will consider alternatives that would modify fishing regulations within the existing habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC) boundary of Pulley Ridge, establish new areas for HAPC status in the Gulf, and prohibit dredge fishing in all HAPCs with fishing regulations.

 

BACKGROUND:

  • Over 100 species of coral are included in the Fishery Management Plan for the Coral and Coral Reef Resources of the Gulf, with stony and black corals being a part of the fishery management unit.
  • Wherever stony or black corals occur is considered essential fish habitat (EFH), which is an area necessary for fish to spawn, breed, feed, or grow to maturity.
  • HAPCs are established for areas that are significantly ecologically important, have habitat that is sensitive to human induced degradation, located in an environmentally stressed area, or considered rare.
  • Areas in which stony and black corals exist in sufficient numbers or diversity could be considered for establishment as an HAPC because all corals are sensitive to human induced habitat degradation.
  • Designating areas within existing coral EFH as HAPCs focuses attention on those areas as especially important habitat.

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED ACTIONS:

 

The actions considered to date would establish:

  • Fourteen new HAPCs in the Gulf that may include fishing regulations to minimize damage from fishing gear to corals.
  • Eight new HAPCs in the Gulf that would not include additional fishing regulations because fishing does not occur in these areas.
  • Modification to the fishing regulations within the existing boundary of the Pulley Ridge HAPC.
  • Fishing regulation consistency in all HAPCs that are managed with fishing regulations by adding dredge fishing as a prohibited fishing gear type.

 

NOAA Fisheries and the Council are soliciting comments on the current actions or any other actions within the scope of Amendment 9 that the public would like the Council and NOAA Fisheries to consider.

 

HOW TO COMMENT:

 

The comment period is open now through January 17, 2018. You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail. Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail) to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.

 

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: NOAA-NMFS-2017-0146 published December 18, 2018.

 

Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.

  1. Go to: www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0146
  2. Click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields.
  3. Enter or attach your comments.

 

Mail:Submit written comments to Lauren Waters, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

 

Why are the proposed actions necessary?

  • As a Congressional mandate, EFH describes all waters and substrate necessary for fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. Protecting EFH has helped to maintain productive fisheries and rebuild depleted stocks.
  • Stony and black coral EFH are sensitive to human-induced habitat degradation by fishing and non-fishing activities. Some black corals are in excess of one thousand years old and have slow growth rates; therefore, these species are unlikely to fully recover from destruction or degradation.
  • Designating areas that have a high number stony and black coral colonies and species as HAPCs would help focus attention on these special areas, and potentially implement regulations to minimize impacts to these areas when necessary.

Where can I find more information on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for State Management of Gulf of Mexico Recreational Red Snapper?

  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
    By Mail: Lauren Waters
    NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
    Sustainable Fisheries Division
    263 13th Avenue South
    St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
    By Phone: (727) 824-5305

FB17-079: NOAA Fisheries Announces New Management Measures in the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery

Seafood Counter Shrimp

By Julie Lively

KEY MESSAGE:

A new rule for Amendment 17B to the Shrimp Fishery Management Plan establishes transit provisions for shrimp vessels without a federal permit, specifies a minimum threshold number of Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) shrimp moratorium permits, and identifies a review panel process when that threshold is close to being met.

 

WHEN RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:

  • The final rule will take effect on January 22, 2018.

WHAT THIS MEANS:

  • The rule allows state-licensed shrimpers to transit from state waters through federal waters to return to state waters and port without a federal permit when gear is appropriately stowed.
  • The rule sets a minimum threshold number of Gulf shrimp vessel permits at 1,072 and specifies a review panel process when/if that number is close to being met.
  • Amendment 17B also defined aggregate maximum sustainable yield and aggregate optimum yield for the Gulf shrimp fishery.

Note:   The rule does not actively reduce the number of moratorium permits in the fishery.

 

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 82 FR 60564, published Dec. 21, 2017

 

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

 

Definitions:

Transit: non-stop progression through the area.

Fishing gear appropriately stowed: trawl doors and nets must be out of the water and the bag straps must be removed from the net.

Moratorium: period during which no new permits will be created.

Threshold: level or value.

Aggregate: all species combined for the fishery.

Maximum sustainable yield: highest possible annual catch that can be sustained over time.

Optimum yield: amount of harvest of a managed species that will provide the greatest overall benefit to the nation.

 


What transit provisions are addressed in the final rule?

  • Transit through federal waters with shrimp on board currently requires a federal commercial Gulf shrimp moratorium permit.
  • The transit provisions will allow state-licensed shrimpers to transit from state waters through federal waters to return to state waters and port without a federal permit.
  • Vessels will need to be in transit and have fishing gear appropriately stowed.

What is the purpose of setting a minimum threshold number of moratorium permits for the Gulf shrimp fishery?

  • The purpose of the threshold is to ensure an adequate number of permits are available to allow the shrimp fishery to achieve optimum yield.
  • The number of federal commercial Gulf shrimp moratorium permits has declined, and there is fear that these declines will continue indefinitely until there are not enough permits left to support the fishery.
  • Permits are terminated if the permit holder does not renew the permit within one year of the expiration date. A total of 493 Gulf shrimp permits have been terminated since the start of the permit moratorium because they were not renewed.
  • Because the permit reduction is passive, the threshold could be reached relatively quickly, after many years, or not at all, depending on the rate of termination.
  • The final rule will not remove any Gulf shrimp permits. The minimum threshold is only for the purposes of monitoring changes in fishery participation.

What will be the minimum threshold number of moratorium permits?

  • The minimum threshold number of valid or renewable Gulf shrimp moratorium permits will be 1,072.
  • Based on the current rate of 15 permits terminated per year, this threshold would be reached in about 24 years.

What will happen if / when the threshold is close to being met?

  • A review panel will meet when the number of permits reaches 1,175 to review the threshold and details of a reserve pool of permits or other management measures before the threshold is reached.
  • The review panel will consist of Shrimp Advisory Panel members, Scientific and Statistical Committee members, NOAA Fisheries, and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council staff.
  • If the number of permits reaches 1,072, any permits that are not renewed within one year of the expiration date on the permit will go into a reserve pool.

What is a reserve pool?

  • A reserve pool holds permits that are not renewed within a year of expiration and would otherwise be terminated.
  • The review panel would determine how those permits would be re-issued.

What are aggregate maximum sustainable yield and optimum yield?

  • The maximum sustainable yield is the highest possible annual catch that can be sustained over time, by keeping the stock at the level producing maximum growth.
  • The optimum yield is the amount of harvest of a managed species that will provide the greatest overall benefit to the nation with respect to food production and recreational opportunities. The optimum yield is based on the maximum sustainable yield reduced by any relevant social, economic, or ecological factors.
  • Although maximum sustainable yield and optimum yield are currently set for each species, their values for the entire fishery (aggregate) were needed to determine the minimum threshold for permits, because the permits cover all species.

Where can I find more information on Amendment 17B?

By Mail: Frank Helies

NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

Sustainable Fisheries Division

263 13th Avenue South

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

By FAX: (727) 824-5308

By Phone: (727) 824-5305

 

LDWF to Close Oyster Harvest in Sister Lake

Louisiana Oysters

Credit: Julie Falgout

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close oyster harvest in the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation (POSR) in Terrebonne Parish at one-half hour after sunset on Friday, December 22, 2017.

 

Recent harvest pressure has depleted the limited supply of oyster resources in this public oyster area. Protection of the remaining oyster resources is in the long-term best interest of the oyster populations in these areas.

 

To view a map of the current oyster closure areas visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/oyster-season

 

The Commission authorized the Secretary of LDWF to take emergency action to close areas on an as-needed basis, based on biological data or if enforcement problems are encountered. The Secretary was also authorized to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open areas if substantial oyster resources are located.

 

Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

New oil spill science seminars for 2018

Beach Scene

Credit: J. Lively

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Team would like to announce two new seminar opportunities to kick off 2018 and also recently uploaded workshop recordings:

 

Responding to oil spills: Offshore and deep sea habitats

FREE & Available in-person and online!
January 9, 2018 at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex, Lacombe, LA

The final installment of a three-part series, this event brings scientists, emergency responders, and others together to discuss offshore and deep sea spill response. For more information, go to https://gulfseagrant.org/responding-to-oil-spills-offshore-and-deep-sea-habitats/

 

Sharing science effectively: Know your audience and speak their language
FREE to attend!

February 5, 2018 – Hyatt Regency, New Orleans, LA

This workshop is designed to help working scientists learn techniques for communicating research and results to a variety of audiences. Although held at the same venue as the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference (GoMOSES), attendees do NOT need to register for the larger conference to join our workshopLearn more at https://gulfseagrant.org/sharing-science-effectively-know-your-audience-and-speak-their-language/

 

Responding to oil spills: Nearshore & beach habitats

If you missed our final workshop of 2017, videos of the presentations and panel discussions are now available at https://gulfseagrant.org/responding-to-oil-spills-nearshore-beach-habitats/

December Lagniappe Fisheries Newsletter

Lagniappe Logo

 

Bottlenose Dolphin

 

Bottlenose dolphins are one of the most popular marine mammals, being known for their playful behavior, high intelligence and common appearance at the surface. This species of dolphin has a chubby, featureless, uniform grey colored body with a short, stubby beak and long flippers. Adults can reach eight to 12 feet in length and weigh 800-1400 pounds and range in coastal waters around the world. The average lifespan of a bottlenose dolphin is 40-50 years, reaching sexual maturity between 5-14 years. Mating occurs year-round, and females often birth every three to six years. Being a mammal, dolphins nurse their young with milk from their mammary glands for 11 months to two years after birth and often have the calf stick by their side until it is three to eight years old.

 

Read more…

 

 

 

What’s Going on with Shrimp and Crab Landings?

 

Shrimp and crab always have cyclical rises and falls in landings, but right now we are in a lower landings period for both.

Year to date shrimp landings have been on a steady decline since 2013. Specifics are available below in Shrimp Watch, but from 2006 to 2016 (excluding 2010 because of the oil spill closures), the average year to date landings through October was 47.3 million (headless) pounds. In 2017, the landings are only at 32.3 million (headless) pounds, a decline of over 30 percent. Total 2016 landings were the lowest (expect for 2010) since before 2006, and 2017 is on track to be even lower.

 

Read more…

 

 

 

More articles in this month’s edition of Lagniappe:

 

  • Louisiana Shrimp Watch
  • New Oyster Reef in Calcasieu Lake
  • Oyster Possession Limit Reduced On Certain Public Oyster Seed Grounds
  • Twelve Juvenile Whooping Cranes Released into the Wild at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge
  • Fish Gear Coordinates – November 2017
  • Important Dates & Upcoming Events
  • The Gumbo Pot – Pecan-Crusted Fish

 

View full December 2017 edition of Lagniappe

 

 

 

Past copies of Lagniappe Fisheries newsletter are available online at:

www.seagrantfish.lsu.edu/resources/lagniappe/2017.htm

 

 

FB17-076: NOAA Fisheries Announces New Management Measures for Gulf of Mexico Gray Triggerfish

gray triggerfish copy

Illustrations by Diane Rome Peebles

NOAA Fisheries announces new management measures to rebuild the gray triggerfish stock in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), which is currently overfished (stock abundance is too low). The actions will modify the recreational fixed closed season, reduce the recreational bag limit, increase the recreational minimum size limit, and increase the commercial trip limit.

 

WHEN RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:

The final rule will be effective on January 16, 2018.

 
SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES:

  • The current established recreational annual catch limit of 241,200 pounds (1b) whole weight (ww) and annual catch target (quota) of 217,100 lb ww and the commercial annual catch limit of 64,100 lb ww and annual catch target (quota) of 60,900 lb ww will not change.

 

  • For recreational fishermen:
    • In addition to the current recreational fixed closed season of June 1 through July 31, an additional recreational fixed closed season of January 1 through the end of February will be in place.
    • The recreational bag limit will be 1 gray triggerfish per angler per day within the 20-reef fish aggregate bag limit.
    • The recreational minimum size limit will be 15 inches fork length.
  • For commercial fishermen:
    • The commercial trip limit will be 16 gray triggerfish per trip.
  • These measures are expected to rebuild the gray triggerfish population in 9 years, or by the end of 2025.

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: NOAA-NMFS-2017-0080, published December 15, 2017.

 

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

 

Why are the new rules necessary?

 

  • A population assessment for Gulf gray triggerfish indicated that the gray triggerfish stock is no longer undergoing overfishing (rate of removal is not too high), but the stock remains overfished (stock abundance is too low).
  • NOAA Fisheries notified the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) that the gray triggerfish stock was not making adequate progress toward rebuilding as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
  • Within 2 years of the notice, the Council must prepare and implement a plan to rebuild the stock as quickly as possible, but not to exceed 10 years.

Why are changes being made to decrease harvest for the recreational sector, but the commercial trip limit is increasing?

 

  • The recreational sector has exceeded its annual catch limit in recent years, whereas commercial landings of gray triggerfish have been below the commercial quota for the past 3 years.
  • The recreational management changes will help prevent the recreational sector from exceeding their annual catch limit, and should allow for harvest later in the year.
  • Gray triggerfish are primarily landed by recreational anglers, and the current allocation is 79% recreational and 21% commercial. Therefore, modifications to the recreational sector will have a greater overall impact on rebuilding the population.
  • A commercial trip limit increase will allow the commercial sector to achieve optimum harvest while still making progress to rebuild the population.

Where can I find more information?

By Mail: Lauren Waters

NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

Sustainable Fisheries Division

263 13th Avenue South

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

By FAX: (727) 824-5308

By Phone: (727) 824-5305

LDWF to Close Shrimp Season in Portions of State Inside Waters

Shrimp

By Julie Lively

The fall shrimp season will close in a portion of state inside waters effective Monday, December 18, 2017 at official sunset.

Specifically, those waters that will close to shrimping include:

  • All state inside waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line except for the following waters located east of the Mississippi River:
    • Chef Menteur and Rigolets Passes, Lake Borgne, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), a section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) in Orleans parish from the GIWW East Closure Sector Gate westward to the GIWW intersection with the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as bounded by the double-rig line described in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2

 

All state outside waters will remain open at this time.

 

For a map detailing today’s actions visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/shrimp-seasons

 

Existing data do not currently support shrimping closures in additional state inside or outside waters. However, the department will continue monitoring shrimp populations in these waters.

 

Regulations state that the possession count on saltwater, white shrimp should average no more than 100 (whole shrimp) per pound, with the exception of October 15 through the third Monday in December, when there is no minimum count size.

 

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission provided the LDWF Secretary with authority to close the fall inshore shrimp season when biological and technical data indicate the need. Recent sampling conducted by the LDWF biologists indicates the average white shrimp size in the waters to be closed is smaller than the minimum possession size limit. This action, which characteristically takes place at this time of year, is designed to protect small, white shrimp and provide opportunity for these populations to over-winter and grow to larger, more marketable sizes.

 

For more information, contact Peyton Cagle at (337) 491-2575 extension 3017 or peyton.cagle@la.gov .