The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, in action taken at their Jan. 4 meeting, adopted a notice of intent to amend the Special Bait Dealer Permit rule to allow for the use of certain skimmer nets. The commission intends to allow permitted bait dealers to use two skimmer nets having an individual net frame size not more than 12 1/2 feet measured horizontally or 12 feet measured vertically or 17 1/3 feet measured diagonally.
Current regulations limit special bait dealer permittees to the use of a single trawl not to exceed 25 feet measured along the cork line and 33 feet along the lead line. Acting in response to increased public demand for live bait, which has often exceeded available bait dealer supplies, the amended rule would allow the use of skimmer nets in the permitted bait fishery. Several studies have cited the efficiency of skimmer nets in harvesting shrimp resulting in a number of advantages over traditional otter trawls including increased survival of both target and non-target catch.
The commission also intends to allow permitted bait dealers to harvest live croaker in addition to live shrimp, require applicants to post cash bonds rather than optional surety bonds, prohibit transfer of any shrimp or croaker taken under the permit from one vessel to another and revise record keeping requirements.
Last amended in 1997, the Special Bait Dealer Permit Rule is intended solely for the benefit of the recreational fishing public which desires to use live shrimp and live croaker as bait during closed shrimp season between the spring and fall inshore shrimp seasons. Its purpose is to allow the uninterrupted operation of those commercial establishments which sell live bait to the fishing public during the spring and fall inshore shrimp seasons. The special bait dealer permit is not intended for the direct use of recreational fishermen, charter boats, commercial fishermen who sell dead bait, or for any other entity which may wish to catch bait for their own use during closed shrimp season.
Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed rule to Martin Bourgeois, Marine Fisheries Biologist, Marine Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 prior to Monday, March 5, 2007.
For more information contact Martin Bourgeois at 225-765-2401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.