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.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, and the Louisiana State Legislature are responsible for managing shrimp fisheries in Louisiana’s waters.
For management purposes, 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 Service 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 seabobs 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) and have on board any 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), which 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. Federal TED regulations are found in 50 CFR 223.2055 and 223.206
Restricted and Closed Areas
Some areas including wildlife refuges, wildlife management areas, and habitat conservation areas may be closed to certain gear types and methods or shrimping altogether and may have different possession limits. These restrictions and closures help protect developing shrimp populations and reduce conflicts among user groups.
Fishermen may not shrimp at night in some areas to limit fishing effort, reducing pressure on the resource, and reduce conflicts among user groups.
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).