In an effort to restrict the harvest of immature female blue crabs, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is considering a proposal that would close the commercial and trap fishery for 30 days beginning on the third Monday in February beginning next year and going through 2019.

The notice of intent, which was approved unanimously by the commission, is designed to reduce fishing pressure on the blue crab stock, which crossed overfishing benchmarks in recent years. It would restrict the commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs except those being held for processing of softshell crabs.

Legally licensed commercial crab fishermen may have an incidental take of immature female crabs in their possession, not to exceed 2 percent of the total number of crabs in their possession. Crabs in a work box used to sort or cull undersized or immature female crabs are not subject to the immature female restriction while aboard an active fishing vessel, according to a release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

All crab traps remaining in state waters during the closure will be presumed to be engaged in active fishing and will be considered illegal.

To view the full notice of intent, click here.

Comments on the notice of intent can be sent to Jeff Marx, Marine Fisheries Section, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2415 Darnall Road, New Iberia, La. 70560 or emailed here prior to Sept. 1.