At its September 6, 2018 meeting, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission adopted a Notice of Intent to change regulations for the recreational and commercial harvest of blue crabs in 2019. The rule prohibits the recreational and commercial take and/or possession of mature female blue crab for a 35-day period beginning September 9, 2019, and ending October 13, 2019. These changes are expected to result in less negative impact on the crab fishery than the 60-day spring full closure of the commercial fishery originally proposed, while maintaining the same level of protection to the blue crab stock.
The changes are listed below :
- The recreational and commercial take of female blue crab from any of the waters of the state or the possession of female blue crabs while on waters of the state is prohibited for a thirty-five day period beginning the second Monday of September in 2019 (September 9 – October 13, 2019). All female blue crab in possession of any persons on the water shall be deemed to have been taken from the waters of the state.
- These regulations will replace the previous 30-day closure, imposed in 2017, and the 60-day female harvest restriction imposed in the spring of 2018, and the previously proposed restriction in spring of 2019.
- Removal of the sunset provision on the currently established ban on the commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs, making the ban permanent.
Regulations on commercial female blue crab harvest to remain in effect are as follows:
- Commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs is illegal. A commercial fisherman may possess an incidental take of immature female crabs in an amount not to exceed two percent of the total number of crabs that is possessed. Crabs in a work box, used to sort or cull undersized and/or immature female crabs, are not subject to the restriction while held aboard an active fishing vessel. (An immature female crab, also known as a “maiden” or “V-bottom” crab, can be identified as having a triangular shaped apron on her abdomen. A mature female crab can be identified as having a dome shaped apron on her abdomen.)
- There is an exception for immature, female blue crabs held for processing as softshell crabs or being sold to a processor for the making of softshell crabs.
The recreational and commercial harvest of legal-sized male blue crabs remains open during this period. There is no minimum size on recreationally harvested crab, commercially harvested crab have a 5-inch minimum carapace width.
For more information, please contact Peyton Cagle, Marine Fisheries Biologist DCL-B, at 337-491-2575 or via e-mail at [email protected] .
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.