Commercial fishing for large coastal sharks will remain closed in state and federal waters until January 1, 2015. The National Marine Fisheries Service closed the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico earlier this week.
In an effort to protect shark pupping, the state of Louisiana is currently under a seasonal closure that runs from April 1 through June 30 of each year. The season will not reopen at the end of this annual closure until 2015 because the quota is projected to be met.
During the closed season, all commercial harvest, possession, purchase, exchange, barter, trade, sale or attempt to purchase, exchange, barter, trade or sell Large Coastal Sharks or their fins is prohibited.
Vessels that have been issued or that possess a federal shark research permit may continue to operate under the conditions of that permit, which includes the presence of designated NOAA Fisheries observers aboard the vessel for the duration of the trip, until the quota for the federal shark research fishery is achieved.
The season for the commercial harvest of small coastal sharks in Louisiana waters remains open at this time.