COMMISSION PLANS CRAB TRAP REMOVAL PROGRAM FOR 2007

Release Date: 09/07/2006

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a notice of intent to continue the abandoned crab trap removal program at their Sept. 7, 2006 meeting.  Two winter trap closures in portions of the Barataria Bay and Lake Pontchartrain estuaries are planned for 2007.


Successful abandoned crab trap closures and clean ups took place in 2004, 2005 and 2006.  These programs were very successful in regard to both the total number of retrieved traps, volunteer participation, and acceptance by all user groups.  A grand total of 14,452 crab traps were collected; in 2004, 6,894 traps were collected during two clean ups, in 2005, 4,623 were collected during four clean-ups and, in 2006, 2,935 abandoned crab traps in one clean up. 


A diverse group of volunteers participated, including commercial crab fishermen, recreational fishermen, concerned individuals, and representatives of conservation and environmental organizations, state and federal agencies, and universities.  The abandoned crab trap removal program was viewed as a positive approach to removing derelict crab traps from coastal waters. 


Funding for the 2007 crab trap clean up will come from increases in recreational and commercial crab trap gear license fees statutorily dedicated to support the abandoned crab trap removal program.


In the Barataria Bay estuary closure, the commission intends to prohibit the use of crab traps for a 10-day period from 6 a.m., March 3, 2007 through 6 a.m., March 12, 2007 within that portion of Lafourche, Jefferson and Plaquemines Parishes as described below:


From a point originating from the intersection of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the northern shoreline of Hero Canal; thence due north to a point along the northern shoreline of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway; thence southward and then westward along the northern shoreline of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to a point opposite the western shoreline of Bayou Perot; thence due south to the western shoreline of Bayou Perot; thence southward along the western shoreline of Bayou Perot to Little Lake; thence southward along the western shoreline of Little Lake to 29 degrees, 30 minutes, 00 seconds north latitude; thence eastward along 29 degrees, 30 minutes, 00 seconds north latitude to the eastern shoreline of Wilkinson Canal; thence northward along the eastern shoreline of Wilkinson Canal to its termination; thence due north to the western shore of the Mississippi River; thence northwestward along the western shore of the Mississippi River to a point due east of the northern shoreline of Hero Canal; thence due west to the northern shoreline of Hero Canal; thence westward along the northern shoreline of Hero Canal and terminating at its intersection with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.


In the Lake Pontchartrain estuary closure, the commission intends to prohibit the use of crab traps for a 10-day period from 6 a.m., Feb. 24, 2007 through 6 a.m. March 5, 2007 within that portion of Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany Parishes as described below:


From a point originating from the intersection of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge and the southern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain; thence eastward along the southern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain to Chef Menteur Pass; thence southward along the western shoreline of Chef Menteur Pass to Lake Borgne; thence due south a distance of one-half mile from the Lake Borgne shoreline; thence eastward and then northward a distance of one-half mile from the Lake Borgne shoreline to a point due east of Catfish Point; thence northwesterly across Rigolets Pass to the southeastern most point of land on Hog Island; thence westward along the northern shoreline of Rigolets Pass to its intersection with U.S. Highway 90;  thence northward along U.S. Highway 90 to its intersection with U.S. Highway 190 (Fremaux Avenue); thence westerly along U.S. Highway 190 to Military Road; thence northward on Military road to U.S. Highway 190 (Gause Boulevard); thence westward on U.S. Highway 190 (Gause Boulevard) to Causeway Boulevard; thence southward along Causeway Boulevard and then the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge and terminating at its intersection with the southern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain.


All crab traps remaining in the closed areas during the specified period will be considered abandoned.  These proposed trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for access to private property; authorization to access private property can only be provided by individual landowners. Crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.  Anyone may remove these abandoned crab traps from within the closed area.  No person removing crab traps from the designated closed area may possess these traps outside of the closed areas.  Abandoned traps must be brought to sites designated by the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. 


LDWF will be coordinating the abandoned crab trap removal efforts, but the program will be volunteer-based. The department will be soliciting assistance for the proposed trap sweeps.  More information about volunteer participation will be provided at a later date.  The 2004, 2005 and 2006 abandoned crab trap removal efforts were successful only because of the exceptional volunteer participation.


Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed rule to Vince Guillory, Marine Fisheries Biologist Supervisor, Marine Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 189, Bourg, LA 70343, prior to Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2006. 


For more information contact Vince Guillory at 985-594-4139 or vguillory@wlf.louisiana.gov.
2006-281