BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - State wildlife agents say commercial fishing for non-sandbar large coastal sharks has begun in Louisiana waters.
According to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the season began at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2016. Federal waters also opened in the Gulf of Mexico at this time.
The commercial and recreational season for the harvest of all sharks in Louisiana state waters will be closed from 12:01 a.m. April 1, 2016 until 12:01 p.m. July 1, 2016 per an existing fixed seasonal closure to protect shark pupping.
The commercial season will remain open in Federal waters until 80 percent of the federal quota for a given fishery has been harvested or is projected to be harvested in the Gulf of Mexico.
During the open season, commercial harvest of Non-Sandbar Large Coastal Sharks and Pelagic Sharks are regulated by the existing federal and state rules regarding trip limits, allowable species, and requirements for permits and landings, as laid out in federal and state regulations.
The Non-Sandbar Large Coastal Shark group is composed of the great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, nurse shark, blacktip shark, bull shark, lemon shark, silky shark, spinner shark, and tiger shark. While sandbar shark are a member of the Large Coastal Shark group, only specifically designated federally permitted vessels may take sandbar shark while operating under conditions of that research permit. Commercial fishing for Large Coastal Sharks will remain open until 80 percent of the federal quota (769,421 pounds dressed weight) has been met.
Commercial fishing for Small Coastal Sharks resumed in Louisiana waters on January 1, as well, through December 31, 2016, or until 80 percent of the federal quota (236,603 pounds dressed weight) has been met. The Small Coastal Shark fishery consists of the commercial fisheries for blacknose and non-blacknose small coastal sharks. Blacknose sharks are a member of the Small Coastal Shark group; however they are managed under a separate quota that is linked to the overall Small Coastal Shark quota. The Small Coastal Shark group is composed of bonnethead shark, Atlantic sharpnose shark, blacknose shark and finetooth shark and remained open for all of 2015.
Agents say there is no allowable harvest at any time for all Prohibited Species, which include Basking shark, white shark, bigeye sand tiger, sand tiger, whale shark, smalltooth sawfish, largetooth sawfish, Atlantic angel shark, Caribbean sharpnose shark, smalltail shark, bignose shark, Caribbean reef shark, dusky shark, Galapagos shark, narrowtooth shark, night shark, bigeye sixgill shark, bigeye thresher shark, longfin mako, sevengill shark and sixgill shark.