COMMISSION ALLOWS USE OF CERTAIN SKIMMER NETS BY PERMITTED BAIT DEALERS

Release Date: 05/02/2007

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission ratified a final rule amending provisions to the Special Bait Dealer Permit rule at their May 3, 2007 meeting.  The new rule allows permitted bait dealers to use two skimmer nets having an individual net frame size not more than twelve and one-half feet measured horizontally or 12 feet measured vertically or 17 feet four inches measured diagonally.


Previous regulations limited 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 now allows the alternative 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 new rule also allows permitted bait dealers to harvest live croaker in addition to live shrimp, requires applicants to post cash bonds rather than optional surety bonds, prohibits transfer of any shrimp or croaker taken under the permit from one vessel to another and revises 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. 


For more information, contact Martin Bourgeois at 225-765-2401 or mbourgeois@wlf.louisiana.gov.
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