Louisiana’s state waters are divided into inside and outside waters for management purposes. The inside/outside shrimp line separates these waters. The line generally follows the coastline from the Louisiana/Texas state line to the Louisiana/Mississippi state line. Waters landward of the shrimp line are inside waters; waters seaward of the shrimp line out to the three mile line are outside waters. Inside waters are further divided into seven major estuarine basins. The Louisiana Legislature, Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, and LDWF are responsible for managing the shrimp fishery in inside and outside waters. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries are responsible for the shrimp fishery in federal waters.
In Louisiana, shrimp fishermen must follow federal requirements for Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and tow time restrictions to allow incidentally captured sea turtles to escape. All skimmer trawl vessels 40 feet and longer were to be required to use TEDs in their nets as of August 1, 2021 (in addition to vessels already required to do so). However, a U.S. District Judge has ordered that implementation of the new requirements for skimmer trawl vessels be delayed until February 1, 2022.
LDWF is extending the Skimmer Turtle Excluder Device Reimbursement Program (STEDRP), which will reimburse up to 60 percent of the cost for two skimmer TEDs. Participants must attend an online informational meeting facilitated by LDWF and the NOAA Fisheries Gear Monitoring Team. Register online or contact Julia Lightner (504.286.4041 or email@example.com) for assistance.
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Also, all vessels operating under tow time restrictions (skimmer trawl vessels less than 40 feet long, pusher-head trawl vessels, wing net vessels, live bait vessels, etc.) must remove and empty their catch on deck within the tow time limit (55 or 75 minutes, depending on season).
LDWF recently conducted a study to characterize the bycatch in Louisiana's commercial shrimp fishery. LDWF and shrimp industry stakeholders contracted with an environmental research company to act as observers on compensated commercial shrimping vessels to document incidental catch of all non-target species as well as shrimp harvest. All commercial shrimp fishermen operating out of Louisiana ports were eligible to participate in this study. LDWF published the results in the fall of 2020; they are available online.