After the hot debate over red snapper, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a pair of unprecedented actions during Thursday’s July meeting in Baton Rouge.
The first, if ratified at the LWFC’s Sept. 1 meeting, would establish a closed crab season starting in 2017 and running through 2019.
The second, prompted by the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer herds in southern states, would ban importation of all cervid carcasses into the state. Cervids are the biological identification for whitetail deer and related animals.
The action on blue crabs would close a season on commercial take and the use of crab traps for 30 days beginning the third Monday each February next year and through 2019.
The notice also included a restriction on the commercial take of “immature blue female crabs except those being held for processing of softshell crabs,” although there are allowances for a 2 percent “incidental” catch and possession of these small crabs.
And there’s a mandate to remove all crab traps from state waters during the closed season.
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ biologist Jeff Marx (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) is accepting comments on this closure through August.
Although chronic wasting disease has not been found in Louisiana deer, CWD recently showed up in deer in Texas and Arkansas.
It was first documented in Colorado and has since been found in 23 other states and in Canada.
State Deer Study leader Johnathan Bordelon said the move to ban cervid carcasses also includes mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, fallow deer, axis deer, sika deer, red deer and reindeer, but proposed regulations handed out during the LWFC’s meeting will not include, “deboned meat, antlers, clean skull plates with antlers, cleaned skulls without tissue attached, capes, tanned hides, finished taxidermy mounts and cleaned cervid teeth.”
The LDWF’s release indicated Bordelon will accept comments through Aug. 22 through his email: email@example.com, or by letter posted to Johnathan Bordelon, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000.
The LDWF’s Inland Fisheries Section posted a notice last week of a July 20 meeting set for 6 p.m. at the Town Hall on Amy Street in Henderson to outline plans for a drawdown on Henderson Lake, an expanse of water divided by Interstate 10 between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
Representatives from St. Martin Parish, the Town of Henderson and the Army Corps of Engineers were also included in the LDWF’s release, which also included a link to the current Henderson Lake management plan: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/waterbody-management-plans-inland.
The LDWF announcement indicated the Inland Fisheries staff will provide information on the management plan along with an update on the lake’s status.