The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission considered a Notice of Intent (NOI) to enact commercial blue crab harvest restrictions in order to reduce fishing pressure on the blue crab stock at their monthly meeting yesterday.
The NOI restricts the commercial harvest of immature blue female crabs except those being held for processing of softshell crabs. It also establishes a 30-day closure of the blue commercial harvest and the use of crab traps beginning the third Monday of February. Both management actions would go into effect in 2017 and last through 2019.
Legally licensed commercial crab fishermen may have an incidental take of immature female crabs in their possession, not to exceed two percent of the total number of crabs in their possession. Crabs in a work box, used to sort or cull undersized and/or immature female crabs, are not subject to the immature female restriction while aboard an active fishing vessel.
All crab traps remaining in state waters during the closure will be presumed to be engaged in active fishing and considered illegal.
To view the full notice of intent, please visit here.
Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed rule to Jeff Marx, Marine Fisheries Section, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2415 Darnall Rd., New Iberia, LA 70560 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to September 1, 2016.