The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reminds crab fishermen of three new blue crab fishing regulations to take effect this year. Two changes were be implemented January 1 and will stay in effect through 2019. An additional regulation regarding escape rings will go into effect on November 15, 2017.
A summary of regulation changes is as follows:
Regulation changes effective January 1, 2017, and to extend through 2019
- Ban on the commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs
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. Additionally, legally licensed commercial crab fishermen may have an incidental take of immature female crabs not to exceed two percent of the total number of crabs in possession. 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.
- Seasonal closure of the commercial fishery and the use of crab traps
The commercial harvest of blue crabs and the use of all crab traps will be prohibited for a 30-day period beginning the third Monday in February. During this period, all crab traps must be removed from all state waters including the three-mile territorial seas. All remaining crab traps found during the closure will be presumed as actively fishing and considered illegal. During this closure period, LDWF will conduct derelict crab trap cleanups throughout the Louisiana coast.
Regulation change effective November 15, 2017
- Changes to the number and size of escape rings required on crab traps
A minimum of three escape rings should be placed on the vertical, outside walls flush with the trap floor or baffle with at least two rings located in the upper chamber of each trap. The minimum size of rings should be 2 and 3/8 inches inside diameter. Any crab trap constructed of wire mesh 2 and 5/16 inches square or greater is exempt from escape ring requirements.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.