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. Currently, all vessels using otter trawls and all vessels 40 feet and greater in length using skimmer trawls must have properly installed TEDs in their nets.
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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.