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COMMISSION GIVES NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT ABANDONED CRAB TRAP REMOVAL PROGRAM

The Louisiana abandoned crab trap removal program is rapidly gaining momentum for the benefit of fishermen, boaters and the crab resource. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, and the Louisiana Crab Task Force have all been involved in the process of developing an abandoned crab trap removal program. Act 48, overwhelmingly approved by the 2003 Louisiana Legislature, authorized the Commission to develop an abandoned crab trap removal program. This legislation was patterned after similar legislation in other Gulf coastal states.
The proposed abandoned crab trap removal program has been viewed as a positive step, and has been widely accepted. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be coordinating the abandoned crab trap removal efforts, but the program will be volunteer based. The Department will be soliciting assistance for the two proposed trap sweeps. Abandoned crab trap removal programs in other Gulf coastal states were successful because of volunteers.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a notice of intent to establish an abandoned crab trap removal program at the September 4 meeting. Two(winter and spring) trap closures were included.

In the winter closure, the use of crab traps would be prohibited for a 16-day period from 6:00 a.m., February 28, 2004 through 6:00 a.m. March 14, 2004 within that portion of Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes as described below:

From a point originating from the southern boundary of the Pointe au Chenes Wildlife Management Area at the South Lafourche Hurricane Protection Levee, thence west along the southern boundary of the Pointe aux Chenes Wildlife Management Area to the Humble Canal, thence west along the northern shoreline of Humble Canal to its intersection with Bayou Terrebonne, thence south along the western shoreline of Bayou Terrebonne to its intersection with Bush Canal, thence west along the northern shoreline of Bush Canal to its intersection with Bayou Little Caillou, thence north along the eastern shoreline of Bayou Little Caillou to the Gulf South / South Coast Natural Gas Pipeline in Chauvin, thence northwest along the Gulf South / South Coast Natural Gas Pipeline to LA Highway 57, thence south and then southeast along LA Highway 57 to its intersection with LA Highway 56, thence south along LA Highway 56 to latitude 29 degrees 17 minutes 00 seconds N, thence east along latitude 29 degrees 17 minutes 00 seconds N to LA Highway 1, thence north along LA Highway 1 to the South Lafourche Hurricane Protection Levee, thence north along the South Lafourche Hurricane Protection Levee and terminating at the southern boundary of the Pointe aux Chenes Wildlife Management Area.

In the spring closure, the use of crab traps would be prohibited in a portion of Vermilion Bay as described later for a 14-day period beginning at 6:00 a.m. five days prior to the opening of the 2004 Spring inshore shrimp season in Vermilion Bay and ending at 6:00 a.m. nine days following the opening of the 2004 Spring inshore shrimp season in Vermilion Bay. In the event that the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approves opening the 2004 Spring inshore shrimp season in Vermilion Bay before a five-day minimum notice can be provided for the crab trap closure, then the use of crab traps shall be prohibited for a nine-day period beginning at 6:00 a.m. on the opening of the 2004 Spring inshore shrimp season in Vermilion Bay and ending at 6:00 a.m. nine days following the opening of the 2004 Spring inshore shrimp season in Vermilion Bay within the area described below:

From a point originating from the intersection of the Acadiana Navigational Channel and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, thence southwest along the Acadiana Navigational Channel red buoy line to the red navigational marker number 12 on the Marsh Island shoreline near Southwest Pass, thence south along the eastern shore of Southwest Pass to a position which intersects the inside/outside shrimp line as defined in R.S. 56:495, thence west along the inside/outside shrimp line to the western shore of Freshwater Bayou, thence north along the western shore of Freshwater Bayou to its intersection with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, thence east along the northern shore of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to the intersection of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the eastern shore of the Acadiana Navigational Channel.

All crab traps remaining in the closed areas during the specified periods would be considered abandoned. For the winter closure only, crab traps would be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Anyone would be authorized to remove these abandoned crab traps from within the closed areas. No person removing crab traps from the designated closed areas may possess these traps outside of the closed areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to sites designated by the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. However, nonserviceable crab traps may be possessed by shrimp fishermen outside of the closed area when in compliance with R.S. 56:332.

Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed rule to Martin Bourgeois, Marine Fisheries Programs Manager, Marine Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, prior to Friday, November 7, 2003.

For more information, contact Vince Guillory at 985/594-4139 guillory_v@wlf.state.la.us

 

 

 

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