On June 3, 2021, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission adopted a notice of intent (NOI) to amend the current gear requirements for the Special Bait Dealer’s Permit. These changes would sunset on December 31, 2023. The Special Bait Dealer’s Permit was designed for the sole purpose of providing live bait to the recreational and charter fishing sectors. This NOI would allow those fishermen operating under the Special Bait Dealer’s Permit to utilize gear that is currently legal during the inshore shrimp season. The intention is to increase the availability of live bait.
The following amendments to the Special Bait Dealer’s Permit will be published in the July 2021 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, 2023, to allow LDWF staff to assess the impacts of these changes on the resource.
To view the full notice of intent or to submit written comments relative to the proposed rule, contact Peyton Cagle, Marine Fisheries Biologist DCL-B, Marine Fisheries Section, 1213 N. Lakeshore Dr., Lake Charles, LA 70601, or via e-mail to: [email protected] before September 2, 2021. 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 comment provided by LDWF. If this rule is finalized, the amended regulations will be effective in the fall of 2021.