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Commercial Crab

Harvesting, Processing, and Selling

Louisiana’s millions of acres of wetland habitat are home to an abundance of blue crabs. Blue crabs have been harvested commercially in Louisiana since at least the 1800s and continue to support one of the state’s most important seafood industries. Louisiana’s commercial blue crab fishery is the largest in both the Gulf and the United States and supplies about a quarter of the blue crab harvested in the United States.

Mandatory Training for New Crab Trap License Applicants

When you apply for a Commercial Crab Trap Gear License, you must have first completed the Louisiana Fisheries Forward Commercial Crab Gear Requirements Program, unless you:

  • Held a valid Commercial Crab Trap Gear License in any two of the following years: 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 OR
  • Held a valid Wholesale/Retail Seafood Dealer License and can demonstrate crab landings through trip ticket submissions during any two years between 2011 and 2014.  
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Derelict Crab Trap Removal

Derelict crab traps are traps that have been lost or abandoned. Through the Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission closes areas to crab traps during certain times of the year to remove derelict crab traps and reduce their potential impacts.   

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— Blue crab stock assessment —

LDWF actively monitors Louisiana’s blue crab population. Throughout the year, our biologists monitor the growth, distribution, and abundance of blue crab in Louisiana’s waters through fishery independent sampling. They use trawls to sample a number of locations across the state’s inshore waters and territorial sea. They identify and count each organism they catch, measure up to 50 individuals of each species, and record all of these data. Biologists identify the sex of blue crabs larger than 55 millimeters shell width and determine the stage (immature, mature, or gravid, i.e. egg-bearing) of all female blue crabs. They also record conductivity, water temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen levels. They use this information to calculate indices of abundance for juvenile and adult blue crab, which are used to estimate the size of the blue crab population.

Louisiana Crab Task Force

The Louisiana Crab Task Force (representatives from the blue crab industry and relevant state agencies) is responsible for advising LDWF and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission on the management and development of the crab industry in Louisiana.

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