BATON ROUGE - Commercial fishing for large coastal sharks closed in Louisiana waters July 19.
The National Marine Fisheries Service also closed the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico at that time. The commercial season will remain closed in federal waters until 30 days after promulgation of the 2014 seasonal rule for harvest of sharks in the Federal Register.
At this time, no date has been set for the re-opening of the commercial large coastal shark fishery in Louisiana waters.
During the closed season, all commercial harvest, possession, purchase, exchange, barter, trade, sale or attempt to purchase, exchange, barter, trade or sell large coastal sharks or their fins is prohibited.
The large coastal shark group is composed of the great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, nurse shark, blacktip shark, bull shark, lemon shark, sandbar shark, silky shark, spinner shark and tiger shark.
Vessels that have been issued or that possess a federal shark research permit may continue to operate under the conditions of that permit, which includes the presence of designated NOAA Fisheries observers aboard the vessel for the duration of the trip, until the quota for the federal shark research fishery is achieved.
There is no allowable harvest at any time for all prohibited species, which include Basking shark, white shark, bigeye sand tiger, sand tiger, whale shark, smalltooth sawfish, largetooth sawfish, Atlantic angel shark, Caribbean sharpnose shark, smalltail shark, bignose shark, Caribbean reef shark, dusky shark, Galapagos shark, narrowtooth shark, night shark, bigeye sixgill shark, bigeye thresher shark, longfin mako, sevengill shark and sixgill shark.
The season for the commercial harvest of small coastal shark in Louisiana waters remains open at this time.