The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has corrected an error published in a news release regarding the final rule for the 2019 fall blue crab harvest regulation.
The Sept. 5 news release stated that the 35-day closure prohibited the commercial and recreational take of mature female blue crabs. The promulgated rule actually prohibits the commercial and recreational take or possession of any female blue crabs, regardless of maturity.
The incorrect information, which was also cited on the Department’s website, has been corrected to match the promulgated rule.
The correct Information about this rule is located on the Department’s website at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/current_commercial_crab_regs and found below.
- Commercial (and recreational) take or possession of all female blue crabs in Louisiana waters is now prohibited for a 35-day period during the fall of 2019 (September 9, 2019 through October 13, 2019).
- A licensed commercial crab fisherman is allowed an incidental take of mature female crabs and/or immature female crabs in an amount not to exceed two (2) percent of the total number of crabs in their possession. To determine whether a fisherman is in violation, an enforcement agent will take a random sample of 50 crabs from each crate or a group of crabs equivalent to one crate and calculate the percentage of prohibited crabs.
Regulations Outside of the 35-Day Closure Period
- Commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs is permanently prohibited, except when an immature female is in the pre-molt stage and is being held for processing as softshell crab or sold to a processor for making softshell crab.
- A licensed commercial crab fisherman is allowed an incidental take of immature female crabs in an amount not to exceed five (5) percent of the total number of crabs in their possession. To determine whether a fisherman is in violation, an enforcement agent will take a random sample of 50 crabs from each crate or a group of crabs equivalent to one crate and calculate the percentage of prohibited crabs.
- Crabs in a work box (a standard crab crate used by a commercial crab fisherman aboard the vessel to sort undersized crabs and/or immature female crabs from the harvest to obtain a legal catch) are not subject to the immature female crab restriction while held aboard the vessel and the fisherman is actively fishing. Commercial crab fishermen are allowed to have aboard their vessel either one work box, if not using a grader, or two work boxes under the grader, if using a grader.
- Violation of any of the above provisions during the 35-day restriction constitutes a class two violation.
- Immature female crabs, also known as a maiden or V-bottom crabs, have a triangular-shaped apron on their abdomens. Mature female crabs have a dome-shaped apron on their abdomens.
- Pre-molt stage is defined as crabs no further from molting than having a white line on the back paddle fin.
For more information, please contact Peyton Cagle, Marine Fisheries Biologist DCL-B, at 337-491-2575 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.