Louisiana Crab Task Force Seeking Input on Blue Crab Management Options

The Louisiana Crab Task Force is seeking public comment regarding future regulations on the commercial harvest of blue crabs in Louisiana waters. At the request of the task force, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) presented management options for the 2019 crab season at the March 13, 2018 task force meeting. The four options presented were designed to reduce annual landings by an amount similar to the reduction in landings during the 30-day closure in 2017.

Overview of Management Options for 2019:

Options Presented:

Considerations:

1. Keep the current March-April 60 day restriction on commercial harvest of female blue crab

·      Allows female crab to move offshore to spawn

·      Longer restriction period

·      Harvest of male blue crab

·      Greater loss in dockside value

2. Implement 35-day restriction on commercial harvest of female blue crab beginning second Monday in September

·      Shorter restriction period than 60 day option

·      Reduced loss in dockside value

·      Harvest of male blue crab

·      Similar reduction in landings as the 60 day option

3. Implement 12-day commercial crab fishery closure (no harvest of males or females) in September

·      Shorter than female harvest restriction options

·      Requires traps to be removed from the water

·      Reduction in landings and dockside value similar to 35-day female restriction

·      Possible allowance for a concurrent crab trap cleanup

4. Implement 12-day commercial crab fishery closure (no harvest of males or females) in October

·      Shorter than female harvest restriction options

·      Requires traps to be removed from the water

·      Reduction in landings and dockside value similar to 35-day female restriction

·      Possible allowance for a concurrent crab trap cleanup

In 2016, LDWF implemented a three-year plan to increase the blue crab exploitable biomass by reducing total annual landings. After the full 30 day closure in 2017 and the current 60 day female restriction, LDWF is continuing to work directly with the blue crab industry to provide management options that will both reduce annual landings and minimize negative impact on the industry.

Comments and Submission:

To submit feedback and public comment on the options above via an online survey, click here.

The task force is accepting input on these options as of today, March 20, 2018, until May 3, 2018.

The task force will review results of this survey at their May 8, 2018 meeting. Sign up for task force meeting notifications by clicking here.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov . To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at www.wlf.la.gov/signup .

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