An annual closed season for the recreational and commercial harvest of Southern Flounder from October 15 through November 30 of each year has been finalized. This statewide closure for Southern Flounder is for all sectors and all gear types, including any flounder caught as bycatch in any other fishery. Exemptions that previously existed for southern flounder caught as bycatch on a shrimping trip are no longer applicable. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) was granted the authority by the Legislature to modify the shrimping bycatch exemption if the flounder stock is overfished and/or undergoing overfishing.
This closed season is necessary to attempt to recover the stock of Southern Flounder, which is overfished based on results from the most recent flounder stock assessment. At their March meeting, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) staff briefed the LWFC on management options necessary to recover the stock.
The LWFC chose to move forward with an annual closed season in the fall to allow mature female flounder to escape inshore waters and move offshore to spawn. This closed season is projected to create a 50% reduction in mature female Southern Flounder harvest. The closed season is an attempt to help the stock recover to a healthy biomass target by 2028.