NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' unprecedented move to ban commercial crabbing for 30 days will affect menus this Lent. Recreational crabbing will still be allowed, but with restrictions.
High mortality rates and low population levels forced state officials to ban crab traps in all Louisiana waterways from Feb. 20 to March 22.
"The biomass benchmark was based on the lowest three years in history that we've seen. Basically we know we've seen that low point in history so let's not go below it. Well, we did," LDFW Crustacean Program Manager Jeff Marx said.
The ban means by Monday, all crab traps need to be taken out of the water or wildlife agents will take them out.
Commercial crabbers are already putting up their traps up in anticipation of the ban. Recreational crabbers can still catch crabs, but not with traps. Crab nets and fishing line and bait are acceptable.
Station 6 Seafood and Oyster Bar in Bucktown saw the ban coming and will shift its menu to adjust to supply.
"We're adding crawfish or add oysters, fried oysters, or maybe we will stew some oysters in a little garlic butter and spill that over your steak," chef Jeremy Latimer said.
LDWF will implement the 30 ban again in 2018 and 2019 starting on the third Monday of February.