Commercial Saltwater Size and Take Limits

COBIA (LING OR LEMON FISH)
33 inches minimum fork length. Two fish per person. Licensed commercial fishermen may only possess and sell two fish per trip.
DRUM
Black: 16 inches minimum total length. There is an annual harvest quota of 3.25 million pounds for black drum measuring 16-27 inches total length, and an annual
harvest of 300,000 fish measuring longer than 27 inches total length. Fishing year begins Sept. 1.
Red: Commercial take of red drum is prohibited.
FLOUNDER, SOUTHERN
10 fish for each licensed fisherman for each consecutive day on the water EXCEPT any commercial shrimping vessels may retain and any commercial fisherman may sell all Southern flounder caught as bycatch on any shrimping trip.
MACKEREL
King: 24 inches minimum fork length. There is a 3,000 pound trip limit in effect. Fishing year begins July 1. (Federal permit is required when fishing in federal waters.)
Spanish: 12 inches minimum fork length. (Federal permit
is required when fishing in federal waters.)
SHEEPSHEAD
10 inches minimum total length.
MENHADEN
Legal Gear - Purse Seine: Cannot be used to take finfish
other than menhaden or herring like species. Use is otherwise prohibited in inside or outside waters as delineated
in LA. R.S. 56:495.
Regular Menhaden Season: The season for the taking of menhaden as well as processing of menhaden shall be from the third Monday in April (April 19, 2010) through Nov. 1. The menhaden season shall apply to all waters seaward of the inside-outside line described in R.S. 56:495 including waters in the Federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and in Chandeleur and Breton Sounds LAC 76:VII.307.D. All other inside waters and passes are permanently closed to menhaden fishing.
Menhaden Bait Season: runs from after the close of theregular menhaden season until Dec. 1. If the quota has not been reached by Dec. 1, then, beginning on April 1 of the following year, bait gulf menhaden may be taken until LDWF determines that the quota (3,000 metric tons) has been met. Any menhaden taken pursuant to this special season shall be sold only for use as bait. The Secretary shall grant special permits for the taking of menhaden during the special bait season.
Anyone legally harvesting menhaden cannot possess more than 5 percent, by weight, of any species other than menhaden and herring-like species.
MULLET, STRIPED
Mullet Permit: The commercial fisherman (captain) is required to qualify and purchase a mullet permit to commercially
harvest mullet. Mullet permit required in addition
to other licenses, qualifications exist.
Qualifying criteria for Mullet Permit are:

  1. applicant must have possessed a valid saltwater gill net license during two of the years 1993, 1994 or 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 fifty 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.

Legal Gear - Mullet Strike Net: Mullet may only be taken commercially with a mullet strike net. One and three-fourth inches square or three and one-half inches stretched mesh (minimum). No mullet strike net in use can exceed 1,200 feet in length or be unattended by the licensee thereof. Mullet strike nets may only be used in state waters for the legal taking of striped mullet with a special mullet permit during the commercial season.
Commercial season: from the third Monday in October (Oct. 18, 2010) until the third Monday in January (Jan. 17, 2011). No commercial harvest of mullet is allowed outside this season. Mullet strike nets may be used Monday through Friday from sunrise to sunset. Only one mullet strike net may be in use from any vessel at any time. A commercial fisherman must have in possession
a valid LDWF mullet permit in his name for legal harvest and sale. Mullet strike nets must be tagged with an LDWF issued tag. No other fish may be possessed when mullet fishing.
Strike net gear licenses are non-transferable.

POMPANO, FLORIDA
Pompano Permit: A commercial fisherman is required to obtain a pompano permit to commercially harvest and sell pompano using a pompano strike net in Breton and Chandeleur sounds during the pompano season.
Legal Gear - Pompano Strike Net: In addition to other legal gears, Florida pompano can be harvested with pompano strike nets in seasons and areas described below. Two and one-half inches square or five inches stretched mesh (minimum). No pompano strike net in use shall exceed 2,400 feet in length or be unattended by the licensee thereof. Pompano strike nets may only be used for the legal taking of pompano in the waters in excess of seven feet in depth and beyond 2,500 feet from land within the Chandeleur and Breton Sound areas described in R.S. 56:406(A)(2). Pompano strike nets may be used from Aug. 1-Oct. 31 of each year.

REEF FISH
To commercially harvest or sell certain reef fish species
listed below (triggerfishes, amberjacks, wrasses, snappers, groupers and tilefishes) whether taken within or without the territorial waters of Louisiana, fishermen must possess a permit issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service for the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Resources. Contact:
National Marine Fisheries Service,
Southeast Regional Office
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 824-5305
(For permit related inquiries 727-824-5326)
For a person on board a vessel to fish for or possess Gulf Reef fish in the Gulf EEZ, the vessel must possess on board and such person must use the gear as specified below:

  1. Non-stainless steel circle hooks - required when fishing with natural baits for reef fish
  2. Dehooking device - at least one device is required and must be used to remove hooks embedded in Gulf reef fish with minimum damage.
    • A. The hook removal device must be constructed to allow the hook to be secured and the barb shielded without re-engaging during the removal process.
    • B. The dehooking end must be blunt and all edges rounded.
    • C. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used in the Gulf reef fish fishery.
  3. Venting tool - at least one venting tool is required and must be used to deflate the swim bladders of Gulf reef fish to release the fish with minimum damage.
    • A. This tool must be a sharpened, hollow instrument, such as a hypodermic syringe with the plunger removed, or a 16-gauge needle fixed to a hollow wooden dowel. A tool such as a knife or an ice pick may not be used.
    • B. The venting tool must be inserted into the fish at a 45 degree angle approximately 1-2 inches (2.54-5.08 cm) from the base of the pectoral fin.
    • C. The tool must be inserted just deep enough to release the gases, so that the fish may be released with minimum damage.

Amberjack, Greater: 36 inches minimum fork length. Closed season March 1 - May 31 each year.
Amberjack, Lesser: 14 inches minimum fork length and 22 inches maximum fork length.
Rudderfish, Banded: 14 inches minimum fork length and 22 inches maximum fork length.
Seabass, Black: Eight inches minimum total length.
Triggerfish, Grey: 14 inches minimum total length.
Grouper*: Commercial harvest of grouper species is limited to those persons possessing a federal commercial vessel permit issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Federal Fishery Management Plan for the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish resources, and are limited to a commercial trip limit of 6,000 pounds gutted weight of deep-water and shallow-water grouper combined per vessel, during the open seasons for each of those species groups.
Goliath (formerly called Jewfish): Take or possession of Goliath grouper within or without the waters of Louisiana is prohibited.
Nassau Grouper: Take or possession of Nassau grouper within or without the waters of Louisiana is prohibited.
Shallow-Water Grouper:
Black: 24 inches minimum total length. Commercial season closed from Feb. 15 through March 14 each year.
Gag: 24 inches minimum total length. Commercial season
closed from Feb. 15 through March 14 each year.
Red: 20 inches minimum total length. Commercial season
closed from Feb. 15 through March 14 each year.
Scamp: 16 inches minimum total length.
Yellowfin: 20 inches minimum total length.
Deep-Water Grouper: Misty, Snowy, Yellowedge, Warsaw Groupers and Speckled Hind: no minimum lengths.

Snapper:
Lane: Eight inches minimum total length.
Mutton: 16 inches minimum total length.
Vermilion (beeliner): 10 inches minimum total length. (Closed season April 22 - May 31)
Yellowtail: 12 inches minimum total length.
Schoolmaster: 12 inches minimum total length.
Cubera: 12 inches minimum total length.
Mahogany: 12 inches minimum total length.
Dog: 12 inches minimum total length.
Gray (mangrove): 12 inches minimum total length.
Hogfish: 12 inches minimum fork length.
Red**: 13 inches minimum total length.
Queen Snapper, Blackfin Snapper, Silk Snapper, Wenchman, Almaco Jack, Goldface Tilefish, Tilefish, Blackline Tilefish, Anchor Tilefish, Blueline Tilefish, Dwarf Sandperch and Sandperch: no minimum limits.
*Commercial regulations for harvest of reef fish include additional
regulations required under the NMFS Reef Fish Permit System. For grouper and tilefish an IFQ is in place in federal waters. Persons involved in the commercial harvest of these species
should contact their local and federal enforcement agents for details on these regulations
**Commercial red snapper harvest regulations include several changes to reflect requirements for Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) regulations in federal waters off of Louisiana. In addition to a requirement for a federal commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish, in order to fish for, possess or land Gulf red snapper, a federal Gulf red snapper IFQ vessel endorsement must have been issued to the vessel and be on board. IFQ allocation must be assigned that is at least equal to the pounds of red snapper landed/docked at a shore side location or off loaded. On the last fishing trip of the year a vessel may exceed by 10 percent the remaining IFQ allocation. No person shall purchase, sell, exchange, barter or attempt to purchase, sell, exchange or barter any red snapper in excess of any possession limit for which federal commercial license, permit and appropriate allocation were issued.
In addition to the requirement for a federal dealer permit for Gulf reef fish, for a dealer to receive Gulf red snapper from a commercial fishing vessel he must have a federal Gulf red snapper
IFQ dealer endorsement. For a person aboard a vessel with a federal Gulf red snapper IFQ vessel endorsement to sell to anyone other than a permitted dealer, such person must also have a federal
Gulf red snapper IFQ dealer endorsement.
The owner or operator of a vessel landing red snapper is responsible for calling National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Law Enforcement at least three hours, but no more than 12 hours, in advance of landing to report the time and location of landing and the name of the IFQ dealer where the red snapper are to be received. At-sea or dockside transfer of commercial red snapper from one vessel to another vessel is prohibited.

SEATROUT, SPOTTED (SPECKLED TROUT)
Spotted Seatrout Permit: In addition to other commercial
fishing licenses a qualified commercial fisherman must have in possession a valid Spotted Seatrout permit to commercially harvest and sell spotted seatrout.  The commercial
fisherman (captain) is required to qualify and purchase
a spotted seatrout permit to commercially harvest and sell spotted seatrout. A saltwater guide may not possess
a spotted seatrout permit.
Qualifying criteria for Spotted Seatrout Permit are:

  1. applicant must have possessed a valid saltwater gill net license during two of the years 1993, 1994 or 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 fifty 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.
Legal Gear: Spotted seatrout may be taken only by properly licensed and permitted commercial rod-and-reel fishermen. No commercial gear other than commercial
rod-and-reel may be used or in possession to take spotted seatrout. All persons on board a vessel commercially
fishing for spotted seatrout shall be validly licensed commercial fishermen. Only the spotted trout permit holder may sell spotted seatrout.
Size: 14 inches total minimum total length, with an annual harvest quota of one million pounds.
Seasons/Times: Commercial fishing begins on the second
day of January until the last day of July or until the quota is reached, whichever comes first. Spotted seatrout
may not be taken commercially during the period from official sunset on Friday through official sunrise on Monday, and there shall be no possession of spotted seatrout in excess of the recreational limit during theperson holding a permit for the commercial taking or possession of spotted seatrout may take or possess an amount not to exceed the legal recreational limit of spotted
seatrout between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. during the open season and at any time during the closed season if that person also possesses a basic recreational
fishing license and a saltwater fishing license.
It is illegal to possess spotted seatrout on a vessel where there is a gill net, strike net, hoop net, trammel net or seine or other commercial gear. No person shall qualify for a charter boat fishing guide license and a spotted seatrout permit during the same licensure period.

HIGHLY MIGRATORY SPECIES
Tuna, swordfish and sharks possessed by a commercial
fisherman shall not be skinned or scaled until set or put on shore or when sold. Those species of tuna which have minimum size restrictions may have the head removed as long as the carcass length without the head exceeds the minimum size requirement.

Shark:
NOTE: There are proposed rules that could significantly
modify rules for the harvest of sharks. Harvesters and wholesale/retail dealers interested in harvesting shark should remain aware of the current regulations.
Persons commercially fishing for shark are required to obtain a shark permit from LDWF. In addition to other commercial licenses and state shark permits, persons
commercially fishing for sharks in federal waters are required to have a federal shark permit. Note: There is a trip limit of 33 fish per trip and per day for large coastal sharks, which are the following: great hammerhead,
scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, nurse shark, blacktip shark, bull shark, lemon shark, sandbar shark, silky shark, spinner shark, tiger shark. Persons possessing a Commercial State Shark Permit shall not possess any sandbar sharks unless they also have in their name and in possession a valid Federal Shark Research permit under 50CFR635.32(1). The act of “finning” and possession of fins in excess of 5 percent
of the weight of shark carcasses are prohibited. All sharks aboard a vessel shall have fins naturally attached to the original shark carcass by at least some portion of uncut skin. No person aboard any vessel shall transfer or cause the transfer of sharks between vessels on state or federal waters. All Louisiana state waters out to the seaward
boundary of the Louisiana Territorial Sea shall be closed to the commercial harvest of all sharks between April 1 - June 30 of each year. The fishing year for shark shall begin on Jan. 1. The opening date for the commercial
shark season may be set at some date other than Jan. 1, and the closure of the fishery may be done on short notice as quotas are achieved, so participants in this fishery
must remain aware of seasons as well as the potential
for other rule changes.
Shark Permit: A commercial fisherman is required to acquire a shark permit to commercially harvest shark.
Prohibited Shark Species: No person shall take, possess,
purchase, sell, barter, exchange or attempt to possess,
purchase, sell, barter or exchange any of the following
species or parts thereof:
Atlantic angel shark
Caribbean sharpnose shark
sand tiger shark
basking shark
dusky shark
sevengill shark
bigeye sand tiger shark
Galapagos shark
sixgill shark
bigeye sixgill shark
largetooth sawfish
smalltail shark
bigeye thresher shark
longfin mako
smalltooth sawfish
bignose shark
narrowtooth shark
whale shark
Caribbean reef shark
night shark
white shark

Swordfish: 29 inches carcass length or 33 pounds dressed weight. To commercially harvest, possess or sell swordfish, whether within or outside Louisiana state territorial
waters, fishers must possess a valid Federal Commercial Swordfish Permit aboard the vessel. No person aboard any vessel shall transfer or cause the transfer of swordfish between vessel on state or federal waters.

Tuna: In addition to state required commercial fishing licenses, to commercially harvest, possess or sell Atlantic bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, skipjack tuna and albacore, whether within or outside Louisiana state territorial waters, fishers must possess a valid Federal Commercial Tuna Permit (1-888-USA-TUNA).
Person subject to the jurisdiction of the state, fishing for tunas within or without Louisiana state waters, are subject
to both state and federal laws, rules and regulations. Federal regulations on recreational harvest of tunas change often, especially for bluefin tuna. Prior to harvest of tuna, be aware of the most current federal regulations on harvest, including sizes, bag limits and closed seasons.
The “Atlantic Tunas Regulations Brochure” is available at: http://www.nmfspermits.com/library.asp and announcements of changes may be accessed via the Web at: http://www.nmfspermits.com/newes.asp. 
Following are permanent Louisiana regulations on tuna harvest, which may be superseded by seasonal changes within the federal regulatory system. See websites referenced above for current federal regulations.

Yellowfin: 27 inches Curved Fork Length (CFL)
Bigeye: 27 inches Curved Fork Length (CFL)
Bluefin: 27 inches Curved Fork Length (CFL)