LDWF Reminds Crab Fishermen of Regulation Changes and Derelict Trap Closures

Release Date: 01/11/2018

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to remind commercial crabbers and recreational users of crab traps of the following regulations:
Regulation changes:
Blue crab commercial harvest regulations have changed for 2018 and 2019 and are as follows:

  • The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission removed the 30-day closure period for 2018 and 2019.
  • The commercial harvest of female blue crabs in Louisiana waters is prohibited March 1, 2018, through April 30, 2018. This closure will also be in place March 1, 2019, through April 30, 2019.

Regulations to remain in effect in 2018 and 2019:

  • Ban on the commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs. There is an exception for immature female blue crabs held for processing as softshell crabs or being sold to a processor for the making of softshell crabs. Additionally, legally licensed commercial crab fishermen may have an incidental take of immature female crabs not to exceed two percent of the total number of crabs in possession. Crabs in a work box, used to sort or cull undersized and/or immature female crabs, are not subject to the restriction while held aboard an active fishing vessel. (An immature female crab, also known as a “maiden” or “V-bottom” crab, can be identified as having a triangular shaped apron on her abdomen. A mature female crab can be identified as having a dome shaped apron on her abdomen). 

Temporary crab trap closures: 
The LWFC has authorized crab trap closures in 2018 for the removal of derelict and abandoned crab traps. Beginning February 1, 2018, and extending through March 2018, seven defined areas have been designated to close in portions Louisiana, for up to 16 days for any one area.
Western Lake Pontchartrain will close from February 1 through 10. A portion of the Barataria Basin, south of Myrtle Grove, will close from February 1 through14. More closures will take place beginning February 16. To view the specific closure areas, visit our website here or contact Peyton Cagle at (337) 491-2575.
All crab traps must be removed from the closure areas before the closure periods, and any remaining crab traps within the closure areas during the closure periods will be considered abandoned and subject to removal. During the crab trap closures, derelict traps may be removed only between one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset. Only persons authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission may remove these abandoned crab traps from within the closed areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to designated disposal sites and may not be taken from the closed areas. 
The removal of derelict crab traps benefits the crab resource by reducing the effects of ghost fishing. Since 2004, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, together with individual volunteers and organizations, has successfully removed and disposed of over 33,000 abandoned and derelict crabs.