Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission adopted a notice of intent (NOI) to amend the existing permit rules to extend the sunset for the Special Bait Dealer’s Permit current gear requirements to December 31, 2026. The Special Bait Dealer’s Permit was designed to provide live bait to the recreational and charter fishing sectors. This NOI allows those fishermen operating under the Special Bait Dealer’s Permit to utilize gear currently legal during the inshore shrimp season. The intention is to increase the availability of live bait, decrease fishers’ effort to catch bait, and reduce the mortality of live bait by requiring a tow time.
The following amendments to the Special Bait Dealer’s Permit will be published in the December 2023 Louisiana Register:
- 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.
These amendments will expire/sunset on December 31, 2026, to allow LDWF staff to assess the impacts of these changes on the resource.
Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed Rule to Mr. Peyton Cagle, Marine Fisheries Biologist DCL-B, Marine Fisheries Section, 1025 Tom Watson Rd., Lake Charles, LA 70611, or via email to [email protected] prior to October 31, 2023. Following the public comment period, the Legislative Oversight Committees will have a 30-day period to review the amended rule and a summary of public comments provided by LDWF. If this rule is finalized, the amended regulations will be effective December 20, 2023.
To view of copy of this NOI visit: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/assets/Resources/Publications/Commission_Action_Items/Special-Bait-Dealers-Permit-NOI-092023.pdf