The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted a Notice of Intent for a rule that describes two different regions along the entire Louisiana coast to be closed for the purpose of removing derelict crab traps.
1. The first closure will take place in the eastern portion of the state. The inside waters from the Louisiana/Mississippi state line westward to Bayou Lafourche will be closed to the use of crab traps from February 20, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. through March 7, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.
2. The second closure will take place on the western side of the state. The inside waters from the Louisiana/Texas state line eastward to Bayou Lafourche will be closed to the use of crab traps from March 6, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. through March 21, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.
The LWFC took action during its July meeting to create a seasonal closure of the commercial harvest and the use of all crab traps for 30 days beginning on the third Monday in February. Today’s action will fall within with this 30-day seasonal closure to minimize impact to commercial crabbers. Only Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries personnel or their designees may remove and dispose of abandoned crab traps during the closure periods.
Since 2004, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, together with individual volunteers and organizations, have successfully removed and disposed of 27,366 abandoned and derelict crabs. The removal of these crab traps is especially important to boating safety and crab harvesting efforts. Last year, LDWF, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, volunteers, CCA and members of the recreational and commercial fishing community assisted in retrieving more than 2,500 abandoned crab traps.
All crab traps remaining in the closed area during the specified period will be considered abandoned.
In the weeks leading up to the closure, LDWF will mail notices to all licensed recreational and commercial crab trap license holders and crab buyers as well as non-resident licensed crab fishermen who fish Louisiana waters and reside out of state.
These proposed trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for access to private property. Authorization to access private property can only be provided by individual landowners.
Crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Only LDWF personnel or their designees may remove these abandoned crab traps from within the closed area. Abandoned traps must be brought to LDWF designated disposal sites and may not be taken from the closed area.
Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed rule to Mr. Jeffrey Marx, Marine Fisheries Biologist DCL-B, Marine Fisheries Section, 2415 Darnall Rd., New Iberia, LA 70560, or via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org prior to November 1, 2016.