Outdoors

Crab fishing closing in Louisiana, open for business in Mississippi

Blue crab fishing will be closed for 30 days in Louisiana, but Mississippi officials put safeguards into place to keep the fisheries in the state safe.
Blue crab fishing will be closed for 30 days in Louisiana, but Mississippi officials put safeguards into place to keep the fisheries in the state safe. ttisbell@sunherald.com File

Louisiana is planning a 30-day closure of blue-crab fisheries in state waters, but Mississippi officials don’t expect it to have much effect here.

From Feb. 20 to March 21, Louisiana is enacting a closure of the blue crab fisheries that will prohibit harvesting of immature female crabs in an effort to give juveniles a breather and hopefully encourage a stronger crab population.

The closure has everyone from fishermen to chefs talking, according to TheAdvocate.com, but officials with the Department of Marine Resources say it shouldn’t affect the fisheries in Mississippi waters.

Mississippi’s crab season is not closed, said Melissa Scallan, public affairs director for DMR. Louisiana fishermen who have an out-of-state commercial crab license may catch and land crabs in Mississippi.

Knowing that the 30-day closure was coming in 2017, however, the Commission on Marine Resources voted in December to issue a moratorium on new commercial crab licenses until April 30, 2017, to protect the supply of crab in state waters.

If a fisherman, in Mississippi or outside the state, had a commercial crab license in 2015 or 2016, he is allowed to renew it, but no new licenses will be issued until 2018.

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Kate Magandy: 228-896-2344, @kmagandy

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