Se Habla Espanol

Louisiana crab season likely limited for next three years


Louisiana took another step toward a commercial crabbing season Thursday after the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a proposal that would shut down crab fishing for 90 days over the next three years.

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries crustacean biologist Jeff Marx told the commission Louisiana’s crab harvest is too high, and something needs to be done to protect the health of the fishery.

“It’s not panic mode, but it is something we’re concerned about,” he said.

Marx asked the commission to approve a department plan that would shut down all commercial crabbing for 30 days beginning the third Monday in February. The closure would be in effect in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Also restricted would be harvest of immature female crabs throughout the year, except for those that show signs of imminent molting. So-called “buster” crabs are important for the soft-shell-crab industry.

Immature females have triangular aprons on their bellies, whereas mature female crabs have dome-shaped aprons.

Marx said biologists expect the annual 30-day season closure to drop harvests about 3 percent, or 1.2 million pounds. The average statewide harvest over the last three years was 41.2 million pounds, he said.

Whitney Curole, a businessman from Des Allemands who buys crabs, told the commission any closure would hurt the industry.

“I have eight people employed. That would put us all in the unemployment line,” he said.

But Peter Gerica, who sits on the state’s Blue Crab Task Force, said he supported the move.

“We all see that something has to be done,” he said. “Whenever we had closures that were natural closures, like with Katrina, nature always came back with better production.

“If you’re not limiting the people and not limiting the traps, you’ve got to limit the time.”

The commission unanimously passed the measure as a notice of intent. The public will be allowed to comment on the proposal until Sept. 1 by emailing Marx at or writing him at Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2415 Darnall Rd., New Iberia, LA 70560.

Overharvest means changes coming to La.’s crab fishery

Overharvest means changes coming to La.’s crab fishery

Wildlife & Fisheries pushing season closure, other measures.


Todd Masson can be reached at or 504.232.3054.


Follow @ TmassonFISH Tweet to @TmassonFISH

Share this Item