LDWF to Close Commercial Fishing of Small Coastal Sharks in La. Waters at 11:30 p.m., November 18

Release Date: 11/17/2010

NOAA predicts quota will be met; fishery will reopen until 2011 season

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close the small coastal shark fishery in state waters at 11:30 p.m., November 18, 2010. LDWF Secretary Robert Barham signed the closure, which follows the November 2 closure issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The recreational season remains open.

Commercial fishermen began harvesting blacknose and non-blacknose small coastal sharks in Louisiana waters when the state’s shark fishery opened on July 1. The small coastal shark fishery includes the bonnethead shark, the Atlantic sharpnose, the blacknose and finetooth sharks.

While the federal small coastal shark season opened on June 1, LDWF keeps the state fishery closed to commercial shark harvest from April 1 to June 30 each year in order to protect shark pups and pupping females.

NOAA estimates the landings for small coastal sharks from Maine to Mexico to be 226,112 lb. The small coastal shark landings in Louisiana are extremely low annually.

The federal commercial season for small coastal sharks will remain closed until the start of the 2011 season, which is determined by NOAA, and opens 30 days after the opening date for the season is publicized in the federal register. LDWF will determine the 2011 state waters in conjunction with the federal season.

No personal shall purchase, barter, trade or exchange shark in excess of the designated trip limits, or from any person who does not possess a commercial state shark permit or federal commercial directed or incidental limited access or federal shark research permits, if applicable.

Vessels that possess a federal shark research permit may continue to operate under the permit’s conditions, including NOAA Fisheries observers aboard the vessel for the duration of the trip, until the federal shark research fishery quota is met.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, please contact Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.