State issues ban on catching blue crabs... for now

State issues ban on catching blue crabs... for now

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The state says that blue crabs are being overfished, so beginning Monday, there will be a 30 day shut down on blue crab fishing.

The results of a study from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in 2016 indicated that management action needed to be taken. It stated too many crabs are being harvested and the blue crab population is too low.

The department met with leaders in the industry and the Crab Task Force to determine a course of action.

The recommendations supported by the Crab Task Force were:

  • Closure of the commercial and trap fishery for 30 days beginning on the 3rd Monday in February.
  • Restrict immature female blue crab harvest
  • Implement both of the above for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 years.

The recommendations were supported by the state and subject to public input.

Anticipated effects of the closure:

  • A 30 day closure during this time period would result in an approximate 3% immediate reduction in landings to limit fishing mortality
  • Increase the likelihood of protecting female crabs until they spawn
  • Increase the spawning biomass of blue crabs in the fishery

LDWF said other than closures related to the BP oil spill, this is the first blue crab season closure.

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