The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has taken action to change the approved 2018 derelict crab trap closure areas and dates. This action will address the public’s welfare due to the loss of fishing time and economic value within the commercial crab industry. The recent extreme weather conditions may cause an unwanted loss in commercial crab gear due to the inability of fishermen to remove gear by February 1, 2018. This may also provide those affected by the current female restriction to have a greater opportunity of uninterrupted fishing before the restriction begins March 1, 2018, and ends April 30, 2018.
Temporary crab trap closures:
• Barataria Basin Closure South of Myrtle Grove – canceled
• Western Lake Pontchartrain Closure – canceled
• Sabine Lake Closure – 12 a.m. February 16 – February 25
• Pontchartrain Basin North of MRGO changed to 12 a.m. March 16 – March 31
• Pontchartrain Basin South of MRGO – 12 a.m. March 4 – March 19
• Terrebonne Basin near Cocodrie – 12 a.m. March 16 – March 29
• Vermilion Bay Closure – 12 a.m. March 18 – March 31
To view the specific closure areas and a map of these areas visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/derelict-crab-trap-removal, or contact Peyton Cagle at 337-491-2575.
All crab traps must be removed from the closure areas before the closure begins, and any remaining crab traps within the closure areas during the closure periods will be considered abandoned and subject to removal. During the crab trap closures, derelict traps may be removed only between one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset. Only persons authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission may remove these abandoned crab traps from within the closed areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to designated disposal sites and may not be taken from the closed areas.
The removal of derelict crab traps benefits the crab resource by reducing the effects of ghost fishing. Since 2004, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, together with individual volunteers and organizations, has successfully removed and disposed of over 33,000 abandoned and derelict crabs.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would also like to remind commercial crabbers and recreational users of crab traps of the following regulations:
Blue crab commercial harvest regulations have changed for 2018 and 2019 and are as follows:
• The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission removed the 30-day closure period for 2018 and 2019.
• The commercial harvest of female blue crabs in Louisiana waters is prohibited March 1, 2018, through April 30, 2018. This closure will also be in place March 1, 2019, through April 30, 2019.