Fishing

LDWF MODIFIES FISHING CLOSURES IN PORTIONS OF TERREBONNE, PLAQUEMINES, ST. BERNARD, LAFOURCHE AND JEFFERSON PARISHES

Release Date: 07/01/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced the following closure to recreational and commercial fishing in portions of inside and outside waters in Terrebonne, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes and inside waters in Lafourche and Jefferson parishes effective immediately today, July 1, 2010.

These are precautionary fishing closures are due to strong east to southeast winds and higher than normal tides influenced by Hurricane Alex and the proximity of oil in portions of inshore and offshore state waters.

Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes

The portion of state inside waters south of 29 degrees 13 minutes 12 seconds north latitude from the Houma Navigation Canal red bouy line westward to the eastern shore of Oyster Bayou and the portion of state outside waters from 90 degrees 46 minutes 01 seconds west longitude westward to 91 degrees 07 minutes 48 seconds west longitude near the eastern shore of Oyster Bayou.

Lafourche and Jefferson Parishes

The portion of state inside waters south of 29 degrees 16 minutes 00 seconds north latitude from 90 degrees 07 minutes 00 seconds west longitude westward to the eastern shore of Bayou Lafourche.

Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes

The open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double-rig line and all state outside waters east of the Mississippi River.

Precautionary closures of recreational and commercial fishing have been implemented based on the best information the Secretary of the department receives from field biologists, staff and trajectory models from NOAA.

Once reports of oil are received, LDWF initiates a field survey and immediate seafood testing in the suspected areas. Closures are subsequently made with the intent to be as safe as possible, while not closing any fishing areas unnecessarily. As test results come back clearing the area, effected waters are then reopened.

LDWF continues to work closely with DHH in an effort to assess all opportunities to resume normal fishing activities on Louisiana's coast and guarantee the safety of Louisiana's seafood.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.

For more information contact Marianne Burke, 225-765-2917 or mburke@wlf.la.gov.

2010-203

Documents: 

TWO MEN ARRESTED FOR MULTIPLE CRAB TRAP VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 07/01/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents apprehended two men for multiple counts of alleged crab trap violations in Lake Maruepas on June 24.

Acting upon a complaint from a commercial crab fisherman, agents observed Joseph Lamarca, 20, from Ponchatoula, crab fishing using allegedly stolen traps.  When confronted, Lamarca claimed to have purchased the stolen traps from Michael Shea King, 19, of Hammond.  

Agents confronted King whom admitted to have stolen the crab traps from a dock with the assistance of Lamarca.  Lamarca confessed and both subjects were arrested.  Also, while crabbing, Lamarca did not possess a vessel license, fire extinguisher and did not tag all crab traps per regulations.

If convicted of theft of crab traps (five counts each), Lamarca and King could face fines of $400 to $950, or jail time up to 120 days, or both plus court costs for each count.  

Lamarca was also cited with Illegal possession of stolen property (five counts), possessing commercial fish without a vessel license, no fire extinguisher and using crab traps without required markings (15 counts). 

If Lamarca is convicted of Illegal possession of stolen property, he faces a fine up to $3,000, imprisonment with or without hard labor for up to 10 years or both for each count.  The penalty for possessing commercial fish without a vessel license is punishable by a fine of $250 to $500, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court costs.  The penalty for failing to have a fire extinguisher is a fine of $50.  The penalty for using crab traps without required marking is a $250 to $500 fine, or up to 90 days in jail plus court costs.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Dane Thomas, Sgt. Guy Adams, Sr. Agent Clarence Marques and Sr. Agent Buck Hampton.

For more information, contact Capt. Len Yokum at 225-765-2999 or lyokum@wlf.la.gov.

2010-E40

SHRIMP SEASON TO CLOSE IN ZONE 2

Release Date: 07/01/2010

The 2010 spring inshore shrimp season in Shrimp Management Zone 2 will close at 6:00 am Monday, July 5, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today.  Zone 2 includes state waters from the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island.

Zones 1 and 3 will remain open until further notice and state outside waters west of 91 degrees 07 minutes 48 seconds west longitude will also remain open to shrimping.

Zone 1 includes state waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River and Zone 3 includes state waters from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Louisiana/Texas state line.

It is important to note this closure is based on biological recommendations made by LDWF Office of Fisheries biologists and is not related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The latest data gathered by LDWF biologists indicates the presence of an increased number of juvenile white shrimp.  This area is being closed in an effort to protect this developing crop.

For more information please contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or 225.721.0489

2010-204

Recreational Oystering

Seasons

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission designates which public oyster areas are open for fishing by opening or closing the season as biological data indicate. The owner of an oyster lease or his designee, with written permission, may fish oysters at any time of year on their lease. NOTE: Areas opened by the Commission may, however, be closed by the Department of Health and Hospitals for public health reasons. Information on closed areas is available from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries or from the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Size/Possession Limits

All oysters taken from public oyster areas must be three inches or greater in length from hinge to mouth. A lessee of private oyster areas may be permitted to take undersized oysters from public areas for bedding purposes only. Size restrictions do not apply to oysters taken from a private lease.

Recreational oyster fishermen may harvest oysters only with the written permission of the lease holder or in public oyster areas open for the harvesting of oysters. Recreational oyster harvesters are limited to two sacks per person per day for personal consumption. Recreational oyster fishermen are also required to possess a basic and saltwater fishing license in addition to a gear license for recreational gear used.

Methods of Taking

Recreational oyster harvest for home consumption is limited to tonging or gathering by hand. A recreational tonging license is required for each tong in use and a recreational basic and recreational fishing license is required for persons 16 to 59 inclusive for taking oysters by hand. Any resident who turned 60 years of age on or after June 1, 2000 shall be required to purchase a senior fishing license to take oysters.

Leases

Any person who qualifies and who desires to lease a part of the bottom of any state waters shall present to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries a written application and cash deposit of such amount as determined by LDWF.

Restrictions

Culling oysters, which is the act of discarding undersized oysters or dead shell, shall be performed only on the open designated public areas or on private leases on which the fisherman is authorized to take oysters. At no time will the act of culling oysters be permitted in areas closed to oyster harvest.
The taking of oysters one half hour after sunset until one half hour before sunrise is prohibited.
Oysters taken from the reefs of this state either for sale or consumption shall be landed in Louisiana, except with an out of state oyster landing permit and in compliance with all other rules and regulations.

Commercial Oystering

SEASONS

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission designates which public oyster beds are open for fishing by opening or closing the season as biological data indicate a need. The oyster harvest season for state public oyster beds (seed grounds and reservations) generally runs from the first Wednesday following Labor Day in September through April 30 of the following year; however, there are often exceptions to this for certain seed grounds. No public ground or reservation shall be fished for market sacks until the second Monday in October. Consult the LDWF web site for the most recent information regarding oyster seasons. The owner of an oyster lease or his designee with written permission, may fish oysters at any time of year on their lease, unless the lease is under a Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) closure order.

NOTE: Areas opened by the commission may, however, be closed by DHH for health reasons. Information on closed areas is available from LDWF or from DHH (1-800-256-2775).

The commission shall fix the open season for commercial taking of oysters from Calcasieu Lake and Sabine Lake, which for Calcasieu Lake shall begin on any date between Oct. 15 and Nov. 1 and shall end on April 30 or on a date set by commission.

SIZE/POSSESSION LIMITS

All oysters taken from public grounds must be three inches or greater in length from hinge to mouth. A lessee of private oyster grounds may be permitted to take undersized oysters from public grounds for bedding purposes only. Size restrictions do not apply to commercially harvested oysters taken from a private lease.

Not more than 25 sacks per boat per day may be taken from Sabine Lake. Harvest limits in Calcasieu Lake shall be set by the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission not to exceed 25 sacks of oysters per day per licensed vessel.

Harvest from private leases for commercial purposes is unlimited.

Recreational oyster fishermen may harvest oysters:

1. in leased areas only with the written permission of the lease holder;
2. in personally leased areas;
3. in areas open to the public for the harvesting of oysters, but shall be limited to two sacks per person (R.S. 56:424c) per day for personal consumption.

METHODS OF TAKING

Oysters may be taken from public grounds by dredges, scrapers and tongs. Dredges and scrapers shall be no longer than six feet in width measured along the tooth bar. The dredge teeth shall be no longer than five inches and there shall be no more than seven dredges in use on any one vessel. Dredges shall not be used in such a manner as to remove excessive non-living reef material with seed oyster loads or as to cause physical destruction to the natural reefs.

The use of dredges in Calcasieu and Sabine Lake is limited to a single hand dredge or a single scraper with mechanical assist that has a tooth or flat bar of no more that 36 inches in length.

Any oysters taken from the public natural reefs or the oyster seed grounds or reservations, except those in Calcasieu Lake or Sabine Lake, shall be placed only on a vessel which has an Oyster Seed Ground Vessel permit issued. Such permit shall be issued in the name of the vessel owner and shall identify the vessel permitted by including the state registration number or the United States Coast Guard documentation number. For more information, contact LDWF Marine Fisheries Division at 225-765-2370 or LDWF Licensing Section at 225-765-2898.

Each person in charge of an oyster cargo vessel shall purchase an Oyster Cargo Vessel permit. The permit shall be issued at a cost of $250 per year for residents and $1105 per year for non-residents.

LEASES

Any person who qualifies and who desires to lease a part of the bottom of any state waters shall present to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries a written application and cash deposit of such amount as determined by the department. Lessees, under the supervision of the department, shall stake off and mark the lease water bottoms in order to locate accurately and fix the limits of the water bottoms embraced by each lease. Areas shall also be prominently marked with signs which state the lease number and name or initials of the lessee.

Oysters shall not be harvested from any unmarked lease.

RESTRICTIONS

Culling oysters, which is the act of discarding undersized oysters or dead shell, shall be performed only on the open designated public grounds or on private leases on which the fisherman is authorized to take oysters. At no time will the act of culling oysters be permitted in areas closed to harvesting oysters.

The taking of oysters one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise is prohibited.

Oysters taken from the reefs of this state either for sale or consumption shall be landed in Louisiana, except persons in possession of an out-of-state oyster landings permit may land oysters taken from private leases only in any state.

Sacks or any other types of containers used to hold oysters harvested in Louisiana and placed in commerce must be tagged with a tag issued by LDWF.

OYSTER HARVESTER LICENSE

Commercial fishermen harvesting or possessing oysters in state waters must purchase an oyster harvester license, in addition to any and all licenses otherwise required. Commercial fisherman harvesting oysters from the public oyster seed grounds or reservations, except those grounds of Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes, are required to possess a valid Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit.

Commercial Shrimping

AREAS

Shrimping areas in Louisiana are divided into inside waters, the outside territorial sea and the federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The line (shrimp line) as described in LA R.S. 56:495(A) that separates inside waters from outside territorial waters generally follows the coastline, although there are some exceptions. For specific boundary locations check with your local LDWF enforcement agent. Maps of the shrimp line are available at a charge of $10 per map by writing the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Oyster Lease Survey Section, Post Office Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000. Please specify which area of the coast you are interested in. The line that separates state territorial waters from the EEZ generally runs along the Louisiana coast three miles from shore. For specific boundary locations, particularly in the Grand Isle and Marsh Island area, you should contact your local LDWF Enforcement Agent.

For management purposes, both state inside and state outside territorial waters are divided into three shrimp management zones:

a. Zone 1 extends from the Louisiana/Mississippi state line to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River.

b. Zone 2 extends from the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island.

c. Zone 3 extends from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Louisiana/Texas state line.

NOTE: Restricted areas exist within certain WMA, state and federal refuges and other areas. These areas may be closed to certain gear types or methods of fishing and different possession limits may apply. Consult your local Wildlife and Fisheries Office or enforcement agent or the WMA section of this pamphlet.

SEASONS

Shrimp seasons are flexible and are fixed by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission based upon biological and technical data relative to shrimp populations in Louisiana waters. Generally, the spring inshore season will begin in early to mid May and may extend into July. The fall inshore season usually begins in early to mid August and extends into December. The shrimp season in Louisiana’s territorial waters is generally open year-round EXCEPT for a closed season in portions of state outside waters which may be set during late fall to early winter, usually beginning in mid to late December and extending into March or April. The shrimp season in the federal waters of the Gulf outside (south) of Louisiana’s territorial waters is usually open all year; these waters are controlled by the federal government. A federal shrimp vessel moratorium permit is required for all vessels fishing for shrimp in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Information concerning federal shrimp vessel moratorium permits, Turtle Excluder Device (TED) and Bycatch Reduction Device (BRD) requirements and exemptions can be obtained by contacting the National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, Petersburg, FL 33701 at (727) 824-5312 or website at www.nmfs.noaa.gov.

SIZE/POSSESSION LIMITS

There is no size limit on any saltwater shrimp taken during the spring open season nor is there any size limit on brown shrimp or seabobs taken during any open season in Louisiana. There is, however, a possession count on saltwater white shrimp taken in either inside or outside (offshore) waters of Louisiana of 100 count (whole shrimp per pound). This size restriction applies to the taking or possession of such shrimp aboard a vessel, EXCEPT during the period from Oct. 15 through the third Monday in December when there shall be no possession count on saltwater white shrimp taken or possessed. When more than 50 percent by weight of the saltwater shrimp taken or possessed is seabobs or brown shrimp, then the maximum allowable amount of undersized white shrimp taken or possessed shall not exceed 10 percent by weight of the total saltwater shrimp taken or possessed.

METHODS OF TAKING

During open seasons, saltwater shrimp may be taken with trawls, butterfly nets, skimmer nets or cast nets and by no other means. Bait shrimp may be taken at any time, even during the closed season, with cast nets less than eight and one-half feet in radius, hand operated dip nets with a diameter not to exceed three feet, bait traps, and bait seines less than 30 feet with a maximum mesh size of 1/4 inch bar mesh which are manually operated on foot only. Trawls, butterfly nets or skimmer nets cannot be used for any purpose in state waters during closed season.

NOTE: Federal law requires that all shrimp trawlers with a power retrieval system must have approved Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) installed in each trawl except test nets with headrope lengths of 12 feet or less. Test nets with headrope lengths of 12 feet or less are limited by tow-time restrictions. Also, in federal waters, federal law requires shrimp trawlers to install approved Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) in each trawl.

Trawls:

1. Trawls cannot have a mesh size less than 5/8 inch bar or one and one-fourth inches stretched. Trawls cannot have a mesh size less then 3/4 inch bar or one and one-half inches stretched during the fall inshore shrimp season for the area of Zone 2 from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Atchafalaya River.

2. In inshore waters vessels may use one trawl measuring 50 feet or less in length along the corkline and 66 feet or less along the lead line; or two trawls which shall not exceed 25 feet each along the corkline, 33 feet or less along the lead line and have trawl doors no larger than 8 feet in length and 43 inches in height; or two trawls which shall not exceed 25 feet each along the corkline, 33 feet along the lead line and have no more than two outer trawl doors no larger than eight feet in length and 43 inches in height and no more than two inner sled doors, EXCEPT that each vessel may, in addition, pull a test trawl. In state outside territorial waters (from the beach to three miles offshore in most areas), each shrimping vessel may only use nets that do not exceed a total maximum per vessel of 130 feet of cork line and 165 feet of lead line, in addition to one test trawl.

3. In Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the “double rig” line in LA R.S. 56:495.1(A)(2), two trawls may be used, each measuring 65 feet or less in length along the corkline and 82 feet or less in length along the lead line, plus one test trawl.

4. “Test trawl,” as used in this section, means a trawl which is not more than 16 feet along the corkline or 20 feet along the lead line or head rope.

5. In federal offshore waters (EEZ), up to four trawls may be used of any size, plus one test trawl.

6. Trawling, skimming and butterflying is prohibited in Lake Maurepas and that portion of Lake Pontchartrain from the shoreline to 1 1/4 miles out from the Jefferson/Orleans Parish line east to South Point, from South Point to North Shore along the railroad bridge west from North Shore to Goose Point.

7. Trawling, skimming and butterflying is prohibited between the railroad bridge and Interstate 10 in Lake Pontchartrain.

8. No person shall trawl, seine or use a skimmer net over any privately leased bedding grounds or oyster propagating place which is staked off, marked or posted as required by law or regulation.

9. Trawling at night is prohibited in the Cameron Parish sections of Calcasieu Lake, the Black Bayou system, Grand Bayou and Little Burtons Ditch (all in the Calcasieu Lake area) and in Grand Lake and White Lake.

10. Use of skimmer nets is prohibited at night in Calcasieu Lake; however, skimmer nets may be used during day and night in all areas of Cameron Parish west of the western shore of Calcasieu Lake.

11. Trawling, skimming and butterflying at night is prohibited in Grand Lake and White Lake.

12. All commercial fishing with butterfly nets and trawls longer than 16 feet is prohibited in Lake Charles, Moss Lake and Prien Lake.

13. Night shrimping, between the hours of one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, is prohibited in Vermilion Bay, East and West Cote Blanche Bays and Atchafalaya Bay to the western shore of the Atchafalaya River and the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel out to Eugene Island as described by the inside-outside line in R.S. 56:495.

14. Trawls and butterfly nets are prohibited in the waters of Bayou Judge Perez (Bayou Hermitage) from its entrance into Lake Judge Perez (Lake Hermitage) to Devils Bayou, a distance of approximately one mile, located in Plaquemines Parish.

15. Trawling, skimming or butterflying north of the LA Highway 631 bridge at Des Allemands and in Lake Des Allemands, its streams and tributaries, is prohibited.

16. Taking shrimp with saltwater trawls from May 1-Sept. 15 each year is prohibited in state waters on the south side of Grand Isle from Caminada Pass to Barataria Pass in Jefferson Parish, from the southeast side of the Caminada bridge to the northwest side of Barataria Pass at Fort Livingston, extending from the beach side of Grand Isle to a distance of 500 feet beyond the shoreline into the Gulf of Mexico.

17. Trawling is prohibited in the cove immediately adjacent to Cypremont Point State Park landward of a line from Blue Point to Cypremort Point to the shoreline.

Butterfly and Skimmer Nets:

1. Butterfly and skimmer nets with a mesh size less than 5/8 inch bar or 1 1/4 inches stretched are prohibited. Butterfly and skimmer nets cannot have a mess size less than 3/4 inch bar or one and one-half inches stretched during the fall inshore shrimp season for the area of Zone 2 from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Atchafalaya River.

2. A single stationary butterfly net measuring more than 22 feet vertically or horizontally, or double butterfly nets having individual nets measuring more than 12 feet vertically or horizontally are prohibited, unless double butterfly nets are used on a vessel, in which case each individual net can measure no more than 12 feet vertically by 16 feet horizontally. No person on a vessel shall use a double skimmer net having an individual net frame more than 16 feet measured horizontally or 12 feet measured vertically, or 20 feet measured diagonally, or with a lead line measuring more than 28 feet for each net. Reinforcement framing attached to the net frame shall not be considered in determining the dimensions of a double skimmer. A skimmer or butterfly net may be mounted no more then 24 inches from the side of the vessel. Individual nets cannot be tied together. Operation of butterfly and skimmer nets shall in no way impede normal navigation.

3. No person shall use sweeper devices, leads, extensions, wings or other attachments in conjunction with or attached to butterfly nets or skimmer nets.

4. No net or beam trawl used for taking fish or shrimp from the saltwater areas of the state shall be left unattended as defined in R.S. 56:8(102) except such legal nets or trawls which are attached to a wharf at a camp and which are tagged with an LDWF tag issued in conjunction with the gear being used.

5. Fishing with a butterfly net shall be prohibited in inside waters during the closed season.

6. No butterfly net or bottom net may be suspended from a piling, float, barge, raft, bridge or shore installation in the Rigolets or Chef Menteur Pass or in those portions of Lake Pontchartrain or Lake Borgne which are within two miles of the Rigolets or the Chef Menteur Pass. However, in the Chef Menteur Pass a properly licensed single butterfly net measuring not more than 22 feet by 22 feet may be suspended from a wharf which has been approved by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and which is attached to privately owned or leased immovable property, or to a structure that is not attached to privately owned or leased property if the owner has possessed a permit for such structure from the U.S. Corps of Engineers prior to 1988, provided that the owner or leaseholder is present on the immovable property or permitted structure at all times that the net is in the water.

7. Butterfly nets may be used for the taking of shrimp in Calcasieu Lake, Calcasieu River, Grand Bayou and Calcasieu Ship Channel, all within Cameron Parish only, in the daytime and in the nighttime, during open season.

8. All butterfly nets located in East and West Passes of the Calcasieu River, in Grand Bayou and in Oyster Bayou, all within Cameron Parish only, shall be tagged with a tag listing the fisherman’s name, address and butterfly net license number. This tag shall be attached to the net, frame or any other structure or part directly attached to the net or frame in such a manner that it is above the water at all times. This tag shall be of readable size, easily visible and with letters at least three inches high and of appropriate width.

9. No person may operate a stationary shrimp net within 1,000 feet upstream from another stationary shrimp net that is attached to or moored to a wharf or platform permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, if two permitted wharves or platforms are located within 1,000 feet of each other, the owner of the upstream wharf or platform may attach a stationary shrimp net if any one of the following applies:

a. This permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was issued prior to Aug. 15, 2004.

b. His permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was issued prior to the permit for the downstream wharf or platform.

c. The owner of the downstream wharf or platform does not operate a stationary shrimp net.

10. A stationary shrimp net is any net for taking shrimp including butterfly or skimmer net that is attached to the water bottom, bank, or fixed structure.

11. When a butterfly net located in West or East Pass of the Calcasieu River, in Oyster Bayou or in Grand Bayou, all within Cameron Parish, is not being fished, all of the following shall apply:

a. Any object to which the net is attached or mounted solely for purposes of fishing, including but not limited to any unmanned boat or vessel, floating platform, pontoon or barge, shall be moved from the waterway and relocated adjacent to the shoreline in a manner which shall not present an obstruction or hazard to navigation.

b. Any anchor or weight used to secure in the waterway the net or any object to which it is attached or mounted solely for purposes of fishing, including but not limited to any unmanned boat or vessel, floating platform, pontoon or barge, shall be removed from the waterbottom.

c. Any rope, line, chain or other device used to connect to the shoreline the net and any object to which it is attached or mounted solely for purposes of fishing, including but not limited to any unmanned boat or vessel, floating platform, pontoon or barge, shall be prohibited. However, the prohibition expressed herein shall not apply when such rope, line, chain or other device is being used to secure, when not in use, such net and any object to which it is attached or mounted adjacent to the shoreline in a manner which shall not present an obstruction or hazard to navigation.

d. Any butterfly net, whether or not it is being fished, that is not marked for identification so that the person owning or responsible for such net can be identified shall be considered contraband. Any agent finding the contraband butterfly net shall immediately seize and take it into custody and may obtain from a judge of any court in the parish where the butterfly net was found an ex parte order forfeiting the contraband and ordering its destruction. An agent of the department or an authorized employee who seizes items as provided in this paragraph is immune from liability and from suit for seizure and destruction of a butterfly net.

Shrimper/Crab Trap Interaction: A shrimper who catches an unserviceable crab trap shall keep it on the vessel and properly dispose of it on shore. A shrimper that catches an otherwise serviceable trap without a float shall return it to the water with a common float. A common float is defined as an all-white plastic, one-gallon or larger bleach bottle.

Qualified permit holders in possession of a “special bait dealers permit” may take live bait shrimp during the closed season beginning May 1 of each year and between the spring and fall inshore shrimp seasons. The fee for this permit is $110 and the permit may be purchased any time between Jan. 1 - April 30 of each year. For more information concerning this permit, contact the Marine Fisheries Division.

Commercial Crabbing

Commercial fishermen shall tag, mark or otherwise identify any crabs that are sold, in a manner which will ensure that such commercial fisherman can be identified as the person who harvested the crabs. The identification required herein shall include the commercial name, license number and date on which the crabs were harvested.

Any commercial fisherman identified as having sold undersized crabs to a wholesale/retail dealer shall be subject to penalties for the taking and possession of undersized crabs.

SEASONS

The Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has authority to prohibit the use of crab traps in state waters for a maximum 16 consecutive-day period between Feb. 1 - March 31 of each year and during a maximum 14 consecutive-day period which includes the opening day of the spring inshore shrimp season for the purposes of removing derelict or abandoned crab traps.

SIZE/POSSESSION LIMITS

Hard shell crabs: Five inches in width as measured from point to point of the upper shell, EXCEPT when held for processing as soft crabs or sold to a processor for the making of soft shell crabs. Crabs under the size limit shall be returned immediately to the waters from which taken without avoidable injury. Maximum possession of whole stone crab is one stone crab per each crate of blue crabs or group of blue crabs equivalent to one crate.

Premolt crabs: Premolt crabs less than five inches in width held by a fisherman for processing as softshell crabs or sold by him to a processor for the making of softshell crabs must be identifiable as premolt crabs and must be held in a separate container marked “peelers” or “busters” while in the possession of the fisherman. Crabs in the premolt stage are no further from molting than having a white line on the back paddle fin. Minimum commercial size limits do not apply to crabs held in a work box. Each fisherman may have one work box if not using a grader, or two work boxes if using a grader.

Stone crabs: Stone crabs (Menippe adina) may be taken by the same method as blue crabs, however only the claws may be landed. Minimum claw length is 2 3/4 inches forearm (propodus) measured from the anterior-most tip of the claw to the base of the joint. Whole stone crabs may be possessed on the vessel until the claws are removed after which time the crab shall be returned to the waters from which taken.

By-catch: A licensed commercial fisherman may retain for personal consumption finfish caught as by-catch in crab traps up to an aggregate of 25 finfish per vessel per day. No freshwater game fish, no red drum and no seatrout may be kept as a part of this aggregate. Any fish retained are subject to recreational size and limits.

METHODS OF TAKING

Crabs may be taken with any legal crab trap, crab dropnet, trawl, skimmer net, butterfly net, trotline, bushline, dip net or cast net. Dredges shall not be used for the intentional taking of crabs.

The taking of crabs by means of trawls in inside waters is permitted only during the open season for shrimp and with a legal mesh size.

No person shall possess or sell adult female crabs in the berry stage (i.e., carrying the eggs or young attached to the abdomen). All crabs in the berry stage taken by any means shall be returned immediately to the waters. However, a legally licensed commercial crab fisherman may have in his work box an incidental take of crabs in the berry stage equal to not more than 2 percent of the total number of crabs in his possession.

Crab Traps: The baiting, tending, checking or of crab traps, the contents of crab traps or their lines, buoys or markers is prohibited in public waters from one half hour after legal sunset until one half hour before legal sunrise.

It is the responsibility of the crabber to place traps so vessels can safely navigate and to properly dispose of his unserviceable traps on shore. No crab traps shall be set in navigable channels or entrances to streams. A crabber who retrieves his trap with a commission approved common float shall return the common float to any shrimper for reuse. No person other than the licensee or his agent shall intentionally damage or destroy crab traps or the floats or lines attached thereto, or remove the contents thereof.

Crab fishers may utilize a plastic bait box cover to mark trap ownership or a two inch stainless steel, self-locking tag attached to the center of the trap ceiling. Either must be legibly engraved or embossed with the commercial fisherman’s license number. Crab traps may be attached to a trotline to which at least one end is attached to a non floating line and a visible float of at least six inches in diameter or half gallon volume size. Crab traps located in areas designated as freshwater north of the northern bank of the Intracoastal/Waterway and west of LA Highway 70 are not required to be marked with a float and float line. Each crab trap on a postrotline shall be registered with the department and shall have attached thereto a tag bearing the crab fisherman’s license number.

All crab traps must be marked with a solid float, six inches in diameter or greater, attached with a non-floating line 1/4 inch minimum diameter or better. Each crab trap must have a minimum of two escape rings 2 5/16 inches in inside diameter, excluding the ring material. Rings must be placed on the vertical outside walls flush with the trap floor or baffle with at least one ring located in each chamber of the trap. Except from April 1 - June 30 and from Sept. 1-Oct. 31, escape rings shall not be obstructed with any material that hampers or prevents exit of crabs. Escape ring mandates shall not apply to crab traps placed in Lake Pontchartrain.

Metal tackle or metal crab traps shall not be used in any of the public waters north of the Intracoastal Waterway in the Calcasieu River or in any body of water comprising the Calcasieu River System north of the Intracoastal Canal or in the waters of Vermilion Bay from Cypremort Point one mile offshore to Blue Point. Crab traps are prohibited in the Tchefuncte River.

SOFT SHELL CRAB SHEDDERS LICENSE
The owner or operator of any soft shell crab shedding facility must purchase a wholesale/retail seafood dealer license. Wholesale/retail seafood dealers who shed soft shell crabs or operate soft shell crab shedding facilities shall on or before the tenth of each month submit to LDWF on forms specified by the department, information relative to the amount of soft shell crabs produced.

Commercial Regulations

Commercial fishermen must be properly licensed to commercially harvest and sell fish. Specific state and federal permits are required for certain fisheries.

Commercial gear must be properly licensed when used in state waters. Use or possession of certain commercial gear requires qualification. See Commercial Gear License section of this pamphlet for more information.

Commercial vessels must be properly licensed whenever taking or possessing fish for sale in Louisiana saltwater areas.

Any commercial species for which there is no specified size or take limit may be taken in any size or quantity.

Commercial fishermen must return all undersized fish to waters without injury.

Five percent of each species of commercial fish by number may be smaller than the legal limit, EXCEPT channel catfish, of which 10 percent by number may be smaller than the legal limit.

Commercial fishermen, wholesale/retail seafood dealers, retail seafood dealers, restaurants or retail grocers shall not sell, purchase, barter, trade or exchange or attempt to sell, purchase, barter, trade or exchange any undersized fish.

Possession of red drum or spotted seatrout on board any vessel on which there is a gill net, strike net, hoop net, trammel net or seine is prohibited.

All finfish in or from saltwater areas, except tuna, garfish, swordfish and sharks, possessed by a commercial fisherman shall have the head and caudal fin intact until set or put on shore or when sold. Shark fins shall not be possessed aboard a fishing vessel unless naturally attached to the original shark carcass by at least some portion of uncut skin. All garfish possessed by a commercial fisherman shall retain a strip of skin sufficient to clearly identify the fish until set or put on shore or when sold. All finfish shall be measured in accordance with applicable law.

For the purpose of consumption at sea onboard the harvesting vessel, a person shall have no more than two pounds of finfish parts per person on board the vessel, provided that the vessel is equipped to cook such finfish.

When on a commercial finfish fishing trip all finfish in possession are deemed to be used for commercial purposes. This means finfish possessed must comply with commercial sizes, limits, seasons and other commercial requirements.

It shall be unlawful for any person to use or employ any aircraft including fixed wing aircraft, dirigibles, balloons, helicopters or any other form of aerial surveillance in the airspace of this state to assist in the taking of finfish EXCEPT in fishing for menhaden and herring like fish.

NOTE: Sanctuaries exist within WMAs, refuges and other areas which may be closed to certain gear types or methods of fishing. Consult your local LDWF Office or Enforcement Agent or the WMA section of this pamphlet.

SALTWATER COMMERCIAL FISHING GEAR AND RESTRICTIONS

Some commercial gears are restricted to specific fisheries, and are described under each of those fisheries. Saltwater Gill Nets, Seines, Trammel Nets: use or possession is prohibited in the designated saltwater areas of the state. The use of bandit and longline gears are prohibited in state waters.

Gears Limited to Federal Waters:

Bandit gear: vertical hook-and-line gear with rods attached to a vessel and with line retrieved by manual, electric or hydraulic reels (cannot be used in state waters).

Longline gear: a line which is over 440 yards long to which gangions and hooks are attached that is deployed horizontally and which may be retrieved by an electric or hydraulic hauler. Longline gear shall not mean a trotline as defined in R.S. 56:8(101) (cannot be used in state waters).

Saltwater Gill Net for EEZ: A traversing permit is required from LDWF for transport of gill nets, trammel nets, seines and strike nets across state waters for use in federal waters. Permittees must notify LDWF four hours before leaving port to traverse or fish under the conditions of the Traversing Permit and immediately upon returning from the permitted trip. LDWF shall be notified by calling 1-800-442-2511 or 225-765-2441 (24 hours).

Legal Gears in State Waters:

Cast Net: any cast net used for commercial purposes or cast nets exceeding eight and one-half feet in radius.

Commercial rod and reel: any rod and reel used for commercial purposes.
Qualifying criteria for Rod and Reel gear licenses are:

  1. applicant must provide positive proof that they held a valid commercial gear license for saltwater gill nets during any two years of the years 1993, 1994, and 1995.
  2. applicant must provide positive proof, in the form of state and federal income tax returns, including Schedule C of the federal 1040 form, submitted in accordance with procedures established by the commission, that the applicant has derived more than 50 percent of his income earned from the capture and sale of seafood species in at least two of the three years, 1993, 1994 or 1995.
  3.  

Hoop Net: One inch square or two inches stretched mesh (minimum) after treating with tar or copper. Hoop nets without leads may be left unattended in saltwater areas for the sole purpose of taking catfish.

Trawl: any net generally funnel-shaped, pulled through the water or along the bottom with otter boards to spread the mouth open while being fished. This gear is only allowed to be used in waters where and when the shrimp season is open.

Trotline: any set line which is 440 yards or less to which hoop drops are tied at various intervals or gangions and hoods are attached and which may be retrieved manually or by electric or hydraulic haulers.

OTHER SPECIES PROHIBITED COMMERCIALLY

Sailfish, blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin,hatchet marlin, white marlin and red drum are designated game fish with the commercial sale or purchase prohibited unless fish are imported and tagged with metal self locking tags placed in one operculum of each fish. Tags to be issued by the official conservation agency of the state from which the fish were taken and showing the originating water body and identity of the issuing agency, EXCEPT that red drum need only be accompanied by a bill of lading in accordance with L.R.S. 56:327 and 327.1, or unless certified by LDWF as having been raised and taken in accordance with a certified aquaculture program or a valid mariculture permit pursuant to L.R.S. 56:579.1. LDWF must be notified at 1-800-442-2511 or (225) 765-2441 prior to importation of these fish.

Commercial Freshwater Size and Take Limits

Commercial fishermen must return all undersized fish to waters without injury. Any commercial species upon which there is no specified size limit may be taken in any size and quantity.

Five percent of each species of commercial fish by number may be smaller than the legal limit, EXCEPT channel catfish of which 10 percent by number may be smaller than the legal limit.

Commercial fishermen, wholesale/retail seafood dealers, retail seafood dealers, restaurants or retail grocers
shall not sell, purchase, barter, trade or exchange or attempt to sell, purchase, barter, trade or exchange undersized fish.

BLUE CATFISH (Ictalurus furcatus)
12 inches minimum total length.

BUFFALO (Ictiobus spp.)
16 inches minimum total length.

CHANNEL CATFISH (Ictalurus punctatus)
11 inches minimum total length, 8 inches collar boned.

FLATHEAD CATFISH (Pylodictis olivaris)
14 inches minimum total length.

FRESHWATER DRUM (Aplodinotus grunniens)
12 inches minimum total length.

BOWFIN (Amia calva)
22 inches minimum total length. Fishermen are prohibited, while on the water, from possessing bowfin eggs (roe) that are not naturally connected to a whole fish. The taking of bowfin with nets or bowfin body parts,December, January and February, EXCEPT in Assumption, Avoyelles, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, Terrebonne, Tangipahoa and West Baton Rouge parishes and in the areas know as Bayou Courtableau, Bayou Teche, Lake Dauterive, Lake Fausse Point, Vermilion River, Carencro Bayou, Queue de Tortue Bayou, Bayou Nez Pique, Mermentau River, Bayou Lacassine, Sabine River and the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway that is bounded by the East and West levees of the Atchafalaya Basin and is south of U.S. Highway 190.

MULLET
May be taken in hoop nets in the freshwater areas of the state. Mullet taken in freshwater may not be possessed in saltwater, at night, or taken with a hoop net with leads on it.

PADDLEFISH (Polyodon spathula)
Commonly called spoonbill catfish. Taking or possession of whole or any body parts, including roe (eggs) is prohibited.

PALLID, ATLANTIC AND SHOVELNOSE STURGEON
Taking or possession of whole or any body parts, including roe is prohibited.

Recreational Crabbing

A recreational basic fishing and saltwater license in addition to a recreational crab trap gear license is required to use crab traps, with a limit of 10 traps per licensed fisherman.

Methods of Taking

Crabs or stone crabs may be taken with any legal crab trap, crab dropnet, trawl, hoop net, trotline, handline, bushline, dip net or cast net. Dredges shall not be used for the intentional taking of crabs.

The taking of crabs by means of trawls in inside waters is permitted only during the open season for shrimp and with a legal mesh size.

No person shall possess adult female crabs in the berry stage (i.e., carrying the eggs or young attached to the abdomen). All crabs in the berry stage taken by any means shall be returned immediately to the waters.

Gear restrictions may exist within certain WMAs, refuges or other areas. Consult your local Wildlife and Fisheries Office or Enforcement Agent.

Crab Traps

A crab trap is a cube-shaped device, constructed of wire, no larger than 30 inches on any side, and with either a bait box or materials providing cover or shelter for peeler crabs. The entrance funnels must extend no further than seven inches into the inside of the trap, with the openings to the entrance funnels on the vertical wall of the trap such that the horizontal diameter of each opening is at least one and one-half times the vertical diameter of the opening.

The baiting, tending, checking or removing of serviceable crab traps in use, the contents of such crab traps or their lines, buoys or markers is prohibited in public waters from one half hour after legal sunset until one halfhour before legal sunrise.

No crab traps shall be set in navigable channels or entrances to streams. Traps must be placed so vessels can safely navigate.

Crab traps which are no longer serviceable or no longer in use shall be removed by the owner and properly disposed of or stored by him.

No person other than the licensee or his agent shall intentionally damage or destroy serviceable crab traps or the floats or lines attached thereto, or remove the contents thereof.

Each crab trap shall be marked with a two-inch stainless steel self locking tag attached to the center of the trap ceiling. Tags shall be supplied by the fishermen and shall have the recreational crab trap gear license number printed thereon. Crabbers are allowed to use a durable plastic bait box marker as an alternate means of tagging crab taps. Crab traps may be attached to a trotline to which at least one end is attached to a nonfloating line and a visible float of at least six inches in diameter or two-gallon volume size. Crab traps located in areas designated as freshwater north of the northern bank of the Intracoastal Waterway and west of Louisiana Highway 70 are not required to bemarked with a float and float line. Each crab trap on a trotline shall be registered with the department and shall have attached thereto a tag bearing the crab fisherman’s license number. This is the LDWF # at the top of your license.

All crab traps are required to be marked with a solid float at least six inches in diameter. The float must be attached to the trap with a nonfloating line at least 1/4 inch in diameter. West of Highway 70 - no mark required.

Each crab trap shall have a minimum of two escape rings. All escape rings shall be placed on the vertical outside walls flush with the trap floor or baffle with at least one ring located in each chamber of the trap. The minimum sizes of the rings shall be two and five sixteenths inches in inside diameter, not including the ring material. Rings shall be rigid and attached to the trap with material of a smaller diameter than the wire strands of the trap. Escape ring openings may be obstructed with material that prevents or hampers exit of crabs from April 1 - June 30 and from Sept. 1 - Oct. 31.

Metal tackle or metal crab traps shall not be used in any of the public waters north of the Intracoastal Waterway in the Calcasieu River or in any body of water comprising the Calcasieu River System north of the Intracoastal Canal or in the waters of Vermilion Bay from Cypremort Point one mile offshore to Blue Point.

Crab traps are prohibited in the Tchefuncte River.

Size/Possession Limits

There is no minimum recreational size limit for blue crabs. The daily and possession limit is 12 dozen per person, daily and in possession.

There is no minimum recreational size limit for stone crabs or stone crab claws. Certain WMAs and state and federal refuges may have different possession limits. Consult local LDWF offices or Enforcement agents for specifics.

Any person using crab nets or crab lines for the purpose of taking crabs for recreational purposes shall not be required to purchase or possess a basic recreational fishing license or be required to purchase a gear license. However, persons using crab nets or crab lines on LDWF WMAs or refuges must possess a basic and saltwater recreational fishing license or a Wild Louisiana Stamp.

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