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At yesterday’s (August 3, 2023) meeting, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted a Notice of Intent (NOI) allowing the removal of derelict crab traps along Louisiana’s coast in 2024 from the six following described areas:
- The first closure will occur in the Pontchartrain Basin, between southern Lake Borgne and the eastern portion of the Biloxi Marsh, from 12 a.m. February 1, 2024, through 11:59 p.m. February 14, 2024.
- The second closure will occur in the Barataria Basin, south of Empire and Venice, from 12 a.m. February 1, 2024, through 11:59 p.m. February 14, 2023.
- The third closure will occur in the Terrebonne Basin, between the Houma Navigational Canal and Bayou du Large, from 12 a.m. February 1, 2024, through 11:59 p.m. February 14, 2024.
- The fourth closure will occur in the Vermilion-Teche Basin, in an area from the Acadiana Navigational Channel and the western shore of Vermilion Bay, from 12 a.m. February 1, 2024, through 11:59 p.m. February 14, 2024.
- The fifth closure will occur in the Mermentau Basin, in the Mermentau River south of Catfish Locks, from 12 a.m. February 1, 2024, through 11:59 p.m. February 14, 2024.
- The sixth closure will occur in the Pontchartrain Basin, in Lake Maurepas, from 12 a.m. February 26, 2024, through 11:59 p.m. March 6, 2024.
Since 2004, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and individual volunteers and organizations have successfully removed and disposed of over 55,000 abandoned and derelict crab traps. Removing these crab traps is especially important to boating safety and crab harvesting efforts. Last year, LDWF, volunteers, and contractors removed nearly 4,000 traps.
All crab traps remaining in the closed area during the specified period will be considered abandoned.
In the weeks leading up to the closure, LDWF will mail notices to all commercial crab trap license holders and crab buyers within the affected parishes as well as non-resident licensed crab fishermen who landed blue crab within the previous year from Louisiana waters.
*Please contact our Licensing Department to update your contact information if you have landed crab within the past several years and did not receive a letter in the mail from LDWF about the past crab trap closure areas.
These proposed trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for access to private property. Authorization to access private property can only be provided by individual landowners.
Crab traps may be removed between one half-hour before sunrise and one half hour after sunset. Only LDWF or those designated by LDWF will be authorized to remove derelict crab traps in the closure areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to LDWF designated disposal sites.
Please click here to view maps of the designated closure areas: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/derelict-crab-trap-removal.
Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed rule to Peyton Cagle, Marine Fisheries Biologist DCL-B, Marine Fisheries Section, 1025 Tom Watson Rd., Lake Charles, LA 70615, or via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org prior to October 5, 2023.