COMMERCIAL FISHING FOR DEEPWATER GROUPERS IN LOUISIANA WATERS TO CLOSE 12:01 A.M., LOCAL TIME, JUNE 2, 2007 UNTIL JANUARY 1, 2008

Release Date: 05/31/2007

The commercial fishery for deepwater groupers in Louisiana waters will close at 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2007, and will remain closed until the opening of the spring commercial deepwater grouper season on Jan. 1, 2008.  The deepwater grouper assemblage includes misty, snowy, yellowedge, Warsaw grouper, and speckled hind. 


The decision was made by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Bryant O. Hammett, Jr., following notification by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico will close for the commercial harvest of deepwater groupers from 12:01 a.m. June 2 until 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1, 2008, and per a request from NMFS.


Regulations for the deep-water grouper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico include a commercial quota.  Based on reported landings, the NMFS will close the deep-water grouper commercial fishery in federal waters off Louisiana at 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2007, and requested that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enact compatible rules.   NMFS requested consistent regulations for Louisiana waters to enhance effectiveness and enforceability of regulations. 


Secretary Hammett was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at their January, 2007 meeting to take these actions to provide consistent regulations between state and adjacent federal waters, and noted that the season closure is necessary to prevent overfishing of the species assemblage.


The commission also authorized LDWF Secretary Hammett to change or modify opening and closing dates for commercial deep-water grouper seasons in Louisiana waters to comply with changes or modifications in season dates in federal waters.  The commission's actions ensure that regulations in state waters will mirror regulations of NMFS for federally managed waters. 


After the closure, all commercial harvest, possession, purchase, barter, trade, sale or attempts to purchase, barter, trade or sell deepwater groupers is prohibited until 12:01 a.m., Jan. 1, 2008, the date set for the opening of the 2008 season.  The prohibition on sale/purchase of deepwater grouper during the closure does not apply to those that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor provided appropriate records in accordance with R.S. 56:306.5 and 56:306.6 are properly maintained.


For more information contact Harry Blanchet at 225-765-2366 or hblanchet@wlf.louisiana.gov.
2007-145