Modified Gear For Louisiana Special Bait Dealer’s Permit Becomes Rule

A rule adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) to assist recreational and charter fishers with bait procurement went into effect Saturday (Nov. 20), the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced.

The rule allows fishermen operating under the Special Bait Dealer’s Permit to use gear that is currently legal during the inshore shrimp season. Its intention is to increase the availability of live bait and was designed for the sole purpose of providing live bait to the recreational and charter fishing sectors. The rule will sunset Dec. 31, 2023 to allow LDWF staff to assess the impacts of these changes on the resource.

The LWFC adopted a notice of intent (NOI) during its June meeting to amend the requirements to the Special Bait Dealer’s Permit. Following a period of public comment and review by the Legislative Oversight Committees, it is now in effect.

The requirements for the permit are as follows:

•A 15-minute tow time restriction will be required for those fishermen operating under this permit.

•One trawl not to exceed 50 feet in length along the cork line and 66 feet in length along the lead line with a mesh size of 5/8-inch bar or 1-1/4 inches stretched. During the fall inshore shrimp season from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Atchafalaya River, trawl mesh must be 3/4-inch bar or 1-1/2 inches stretched.

•Double skimmer nets may have an opening circumference of no more than 72 feet for each net and a maximum lead line length of 33 feet. Skimmer nets may be mounted to the horizontal net frame at any distance from the gunwale of the vessel as long as the mounting distance and horizontal length of the net frame does not exceed 20 feet from the gunwale. Mesh size must be at least 5/8-inch bar or 1-1/4 inches stretched and 3/4-inch bar or 1-1/2 inches stretched during the fall inshore shrimp season from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Atchafalaya River.

To view the rule printed in the Louisiana Register, visit: https://www.doa.la.gov/media/2orlea3o/2111.pdf.

For more information on this rule, please contact Peyton Cagle at 337-491-2575 or via e-mail at pcagle@wlf.la.gov.