The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a declaration of emergency that establishes the Louisiana Fisheries Forward program to meet the legislatively defined deadline for implementation of November 15.  This program implements certain training requirements for fishermen obtaining crab trap gear licenses who did not possess a commercial crab trap gear license in two out of the four years, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.  This program was designed in close cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Crab Task Force.  These rules will be effective as of November 15 and will remain in effect until the final program rules have been approved.

The training requirements are as follows:

•         Education in the proper fishing techniques necessary for the health and sustainability of crabs;
•         Proper techniques for the best capture and presentation of the crabs for marketability
•         Proper instructions regarding the placement, tending, and maintenance of crab traps to reduce potential conflicts with other user groups
•         Authorizes the program to include a mandatory apprenticeship program
Today’s action does contain a provision that allows LDWF to issue a conditional crab trap license to any applicant who completes their field training prior to the availability of the required training videos.  The training videos are expected to be complete in April of 2015.