Louisiana commercial fishermen harvest shrimp from Louisiana state waters (inland waters and seaward out to 9 nautical miles from the coastline) and from offshore federal waters (9 to 200 nautical miles). A nautical mile is 1.15 statute miles.
LDWF, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, and the Louisiana State Legislature are responsible for managing shrimp fisheries in Louisiana’s waters.
Louisiana’s state waters are divided into three areas for management purposes:
- Inshore (inland from the coastline, further divided by major estuarine basin)
- Coastal (coastline, seaward out to 3 nautical miles)
- Nearshore (3 to 9 nautical miles from the coastline)
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries are responsible for managing shrimp fisheries in federal waters.
There is no size limit for any shrimp harvested during the spring open season nor for brown or seabob shrimp harvested during any open season.
White shrimp is legal size when a pound of white shrimp equals 100 whole shrimp or less. You may not harvest sub-legal white shrimp, except from October 15 through the 3rd Monday in December. Also, when more than half of your catch is seabob or brown shrimp, no more than 10% (by weight) of your catch may be sub-legal size white shrimp.
You may only use trawls, butterfly nets, skimmer nets, and cast nets to harvest shrimp during open seasons in Louisiana’s waters.
Bycatch Reduction Requirements
Federal law requires all shrimpers fishing with otter trawls (except test nets with headrope lengths of 12 feet or less) with a power or mechanical trawl retrieval system (i.e. any device used to haul any part of the net aboard) to equip them with turtle excluder devices (TEDs). TEDS allow incidentally captured turtles to escape the nets. In lieu of TEDs, shrimpers fishing with test trawls and skimmer and butterfly nets must limit the time they tow them to 75 minutes from November 1 through March 31 and 55 minutes from April 1 through October 31 to reduce potential impact on sea turtles.
When fishing in federal waters, shrimp trawlers must install bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) in each trawl to reduce catch of non-targeted species.
|Mesh||Must be at least 5/8-inch bar or 1-1/4 inches stretched mesh. Must be at least 3/4-inch bar or 1-1/2 inches stretched mesh during the fall inshore shrimp season from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Atchafalaya River.|
|Size and number||
Inshore waters: regulations permit one trawl measuring 50 feet long or less along the corkline and 66 feet long or less along the lead line; two trawls not exceeding 25 feet each along the corkline and 33 feet along the lead line, with trawl doors no more than 8 feet long and 43 inches high; OR two trawls not exceeding 25 feet each along the corkline and 33 feet along the lead line, with no more than two outer trawl doors no larger than 8 feet long and 43 inches high and no more than two inner sled doors. Each vessel may also pull a test trawl.*
Beach waters: A vessel’s nets may not exceed a total of 130 feet of cork line and 165 feet of lead line, in addition to one test trawl.*
Breton and Chandeleur Sounds: Regulations permit two trawls, each measuring no more than 65 feet long along the corkline and no more than 82 feet long along the lead line, plus one test trawl.*
Nearshore and federal offshore waters: up to four trawls of any size plus one test trawl.
*A test trawl is no more than 16 feet long along the corkline or 20 feet long along the lead line or head rope.
|Butterfly and skimmer nets|
|Mesh||Must be at least 5/8-inch bar or 1-1/4 inches stretched mesh. Must be at least 3/4 inch bar or 1-1/2 inches stretched mesh during the fall inshore shrimp season from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Atchafalaya River.|
|Size and number||
A single stationary butterfly net may measure no more than 22 feet vertically or horizontally.
Individual nets of double butterfly nets may measure no more than 12 feet vertically or horizontally, unless used on a vessel, in which case they may measure no more than 12 feet vertically by 16 feet horizontally.
Double skimmer nets may have an opening circumference of no more than 72 feet for each net and a maximum lead line length of 33 feet.
Butterfly nets may be mounted no more than 24 inches from the side of the vessel.
Skimmer nets may be mounted to the horizontal net frame at any distance from the gunwale of the vessel as long as the mounting distance and horizontal length of the net frame does not exceed 20 feet from the gunwale.
You may not tie individual nets together.
No sweeper devices, leads, extensions, wings, or other attachments.
You must mark butterfly nets with a tag listing your name, address, and net license number when using them in East and West Passes of the Calcasieu River, Grand Bayou, and in Oyster Bayou (all within Cameron Parish only); if found unmarked, these nets will be seized by LDWF agents or other authorized employees. This tag must be attached to the net, frame, or any other part directly attached to the net or frame and must be visible above the water at all times. Letters must be at least 3 inches high and of appropriate width to make it visible and readable.
Restricted and Closed Areas
Commercial shrimping is permitted in:
- Atchafalaya Delta, except in the Limited Access Areas from Sept. to Jan. each year
- Pass-a-Loutre, except in the Limited Access Areas from Sept. to Jan. each year.
- Pointe-aux-Chenes (in Cutoff Canal and Wonder Lake); no fishing at night**
*Commercial fishermen must have a permit to fish in these areas.
**Night is defined as between one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.
Commercial shrimping is prohibited in:
- Elmer’s Island
- Isle Derniers Barrier Island
- Rockefeller, State, and Marsh Island
General Area Restrictions
No trawling, skimming, or butterflying in:
- Lake Maurepas
- 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 Northshore along the railroad bridge west from North Shore to Goose Point
- In Lake Pontchartrain between the railroad bridge and Interstate 10
- North of the LA Highway 631 bridge at Des Allemands and in Lake Des Allemands, its streams, and tributaries
No trawling, skimming, or butterflying at night in:
- Grand Lake
- White Lake
- Vermilion Bay
- East and West Cote Blanche Bays
- Atchafalaya Bay from the western shore of the Atchafalaya River and the Atchafalaya River Shrimp Channel out to Eugene Island, except in Southwest Pass at Marsh Island south of a line drawn from the following points: the most southeastward point of Southwest Pass at 29 degrees 36 minutes 47 seconds north latitude, 92 degrees 00 minutes 32 seconds west longitude east southeast to the Green Light Channel Marker Number 21 at 29 degrees 36 minutes 44 seconds north latitude, 92 degrees 00 minutes 21 seconds west longitude; thence northeast to a point located at 29 degrees 37 minutes 34 seconds north latitude, 91 degrees 59 minutes 36 seconds west longitude; thence southeast to the western shore of Big Charles Bayou at 29 degrees 36 minutes 43 seconds north latitude, 91 degrees 59 minutes 17 seconds west longitude
No trawling or skimming over any privately leased bedding grounds or oyster propagating place which is staked off, marked, or posted, as required by law or regulation.
No trawling or butterflying in:
- Bayou Judge Perez (Bayou Hermitage) from its entrance into Lake Judge Perez to Devils Bayou (approximately one mile), located in Plaquemines Parish
- From May 1 through September 15 each year 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
- In the cove immediately adjacent to Cypremort Point State Park landward of a line from Blue Point to Cypremort Point to the shoreline.
- At night in 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
No skimming at night:
- In Calcasieu Lake, except in all areas of Cameron Parish west of the western shore of Calcasieu Lake
No commercial fishing with butterfly nets and trawls longer than 16 feet:
- Lake Charles
- Moss Lake
- Prien Lake
No butterflying in inside waters during the closed season.
You may use butterfly nets to take shrimp in Calcasieu Lake, Calcasieu River, Grand Bayou and Calcasieu Ship Channel, all within Cameron Parish only, both during the day and night, during open seasons.
If you have an inactive butterfly net in West or East Pass of the Calcasieu River, Oyster Bayou, or Grand Bayou, all within Cameron Parish, you must:
- Move any object to which the net is attached or mounted solely for purposes of fishing from the waterway and relocate it adjacent to the shoreline so it does not obstruct or present a hazard to navigation
- Remove any anchor or weight used to secure in the waterway the net or any object to which it is attached from the water bottom
- Remove any rope, line, chain, or other device used to connect to the shoreline the net or any object to which it is attached. (This does not apply when such rope, line, chain, or other device does not obstruct or present a hazard to navigation.)
- Mark the net to identify the owner or person responsible for the net. (Otherwise, the net will be considered contraband and immediately seized and later destroyed by LDWF Enforcement.)
No butterfly net may be suspended from a piling, float, barge, raft, bridge or shore installation in:
- The Rigolets
- Chef Menteur Pass*
- Those portions of Lake Pontchartrain or Lake Borgne which are within two miles of the Rigolets or the Chef Menteur Pass.
*In the Chef Menteur Pass, you may suspend a properly licensed single butterfly net no larger than 22 feet by 22 feet from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-approved wharf 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 had a permit for such structure from the Corps prior to 1988, provided that the owner or leaseholder is present on the property or structure while the net is in the water.
No stationary shrimp nets within 1,000 feet upstream from another stationary shrimp net that is attached to or moored to a wharf or platform permitted by the Corps. If two permitted wharves or platforms are located within 1,000 feet of each other, the owner of the upstream wharf may attach a stationary shrimp net if:
- Corps permit was issued prior to Aug. 15, 2004
- Corps permit was issued prior to the permit for the downstream wharf or platform OR
- The owner of the downstream wharf or platform does not open a stationary shrimp net
Only legal nets or trawls attached to a wharf at a camp and tagged with the appropriate LDWF-issued tog may be left unattended.
Shrimper/Crab Trap Interactions
If you catch an unserviceable crab trap, you must keep it on your vessel and properly dispose of it onshore. If you catch a serviceable crab trap without a float, return it to the water with a common float (a white, plastic, one-gallon or larger bleach bottle).