Commercial Fisheries For Deepwater Groupers and Tilefishes in Louisiana Waters To Close 12:01 A.M. Local Time, May 10, 2008 Until January 1, 2009

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The commercial fisheries for deepwater groupers and tilefishes in Louisiana waters will close at 12:01 a.m. on May 10, 2008, and will remain closed until Jan. 1, 2009.  The deepwater grouper assemblage includes misty, snowy, yellowedge, Warsaw grouper, and speckled hind.  The tilefish assemblage includes tilefish, goldface tilefish, blackline tilefish, anchor tilefish and blueline tilefish. 

The decision was made by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham, following notification by NOAA Fisheries that the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico will close for the commercial harvest of deepwater groupers and tilefishes from 12:01 a.m. May 10 until 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1, 2009, and per a request from NOAA Fisheries.

Regulations for the deep-water grouper and tilefish fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico include a commercial quota.  Based on reported landings, NOAA Fisheries will close both the deep-water grouper commercial fishery and the tilefish commercial fishery in federal waters off Louisiana at 12:01 a.m. on May 10, 2008, and requested that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enact compatible rules.   NOAA Fisheries requested consistent regulations for Louisiana waters to enhance effectiveness and enforceability of regulations. 

Secretary Barham was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at their January, 2008 meeting to take these actions to provide consistent regulations between state and adjacent federal waters, and noted that the season closure is necessary to prevent overfishing of the species assemblages.

The commission also authorized LDWF Secretary Barham to change or modify opening and closing dates for commercial deep-water grouper and commercial tilefish seasons in Louisiana waters to comply with changes or modifications in season dates in federal waters.  The commission’s actions ensure that regulations in state waters will mirror regulations of NMFS for federally managed waters. 

After the closure, all commercial harvest, possession, purchase, barter, trade, sale or attempts to purchase, barter, trade or sell deepwater groupers or tilefishes is prohibited until 12:01 a.m., Jan. 1, 2009, the date set for the opening of the 2009 season.  The prohibition on sale/purchase of deepwater groupers or tilefishes during the closure does not apply to those that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor provided appropriate records in accordance with R.S. 56:306.5 and 56:306.6 are properly maintained.

For more information contact Harry Blanchet at 225-765-2366 or hblanchet [at] wlf [dot] louisiana [dot] gov.