Louisiana blue crab commercial harvest regulations have changed for 2019. These regulations are designed to increase the amount of blue crabs available for harvest.
According to the most current regulations,
- Commercial (and recreational) take or possession of mature female blue crabs in Louisiana waters is now prohibited for a 35-day period during the fall of 2019 (September 9, 2019 through October 13, 2019).
- Commercial harvest of immature* female blue crabs is permanently prohibited, except when an immature female is in the pre-molt stage** and is being held for processing as softshell crab or sold to a processor for making softshell crab.
- A licensed commercial crab fisherman is allowed an incidental take of mature female crabs during March and April and/or immature female crabs in an amount not to exceed two percent of the total number of crabs in their possession. To determine whether a fisherman is in violation, an enforcement agent will take a random sample of 50 crabs from each crate or a group of crabs equivalent to one crate and calculate the percentage of prohibited crabs.
- Crabs in a work box (a standard crab crate used by a commercial crab fisherman aboard the vessel to sort undersized crabs and/or immature female crabs from the harvest to obtain a legal catch) are not subject to the immature female crab restriction while held aboard the vessel and the fisherman is actively fishing. Commercial crab fishermen are allowed to have aboard their vessel either one work box, if not using a grader, or two work boxes under the grader, if using a grader.
- Violation of any of the above provisions constitutes a class two*** violation.
- There is no spring 60-day mature female restriction on the commercial harvest of blue crab during the 2019 harvest season.
*Immature female crabs, also known as a maiden or V-bottom crabs, have a triangular-shaped apron on their abdomens. Mature female crabs have a dome-shaped apron on their abdomens.
**Pre-molt stage is defined as crabs no further from molting than having a white line on the back paddle fin.
***Changes to the violation class are being considered.
See a fact sheet on 2019 commercial crab regulations for additional details.
Derelict Crab Trap Removal
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has authorized crab trap closures in 2019 for the removal of derelict crab traps. View the dates and details for each closure. During a closure, all crab traps must be removed from the closure areas; any remaining crab traps within the closure areas during a closure will be considered abandoned and subject to removal. Only persons authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission may remove these abandoned crab traps from the closure areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to the designated disposal sites. Removing derelict traps is essential for reducing mortality of blue crabs and other species due to ghost fishing, ensuring safe navigation, reducing conflicts with other fisheries and user groups, and improving the aesthetics of state waterways.
Additional Commercial Crab Regulations
Other existing blue crab commercial harvest regulations remain in effect in2019. Please see the latest commercial regulations brochure for details.