Louisiana blue crab — Marine Stewardship Council
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You are here: Home Track a fishery Fisheries in the MSC program Certified fisheries Western Central Atlantic Louisiana blue crab

Louisiana blue crab

Last Updated: 14 July 2016 

MSC status

Certified as sustainable in March 2012. 


Species:  Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus)
Gulf of Mexico, State waters of Louisiana, FAO statistical area 31
Fishing methods:  Traps
Number of fisheries:  1

More about blue crab

Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) ranges from Nova Scotia to northern Argentina and occurs in coastal waters of the western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Blue crabs have complex life histories, with different life stages preying and being predated upon by a variable suite of organisms at different points in their development. The species is physiologically flexible and occupy a wide variety of offshore and estuarine habitats throughout their life history, including intertidal marshes, sub-tidal seagrass beds, and unvegetated, soft-sediments. Juveniles generally prefer shallow salt marsh habitats; mature males, lower-salinity habitats, such as creeks, rivers, and upper estuaries. Except when mating, mature females prefer higher-salinity areas, such as lower estuaries and surrounding waters. Habitat loss and increased nutrient loading probably present the greatest threats to blue crab populations.Factors controlling blue crab recruitment vary from year-to-year and exert their influence early in the life cycle. Water circulation patterns controlled by prevailing winds can either carry the larvae shoreward or sweep them away. Reported maximum age of blue crab along the Atlantic Coast range from 3-6 years.

More about the fishing methods

The Blue Crab fishery is entirely a trap fishery. It operates the entire year but typically has the highest landings from May through August and the lowest landings in February and March. Harvest occurs statewide across the coast and extending to 3 miles offshore. The passages of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused substantial reduction in the directed effort of the commercial fleet when compared to previous years. This decline is attributed to the devastation of infrastructure, vessels, and fishing gear caused by hurricane passage. Given this reduction in effort, landings remained high indicating higher fisher success rates and abundance of blue crabs.

Fishery tonnage

Commercial landings of blue crab in Louisiana have remained above 40 million pounds per year since 1997 with the exception of 2005.

Commercial market

Produce is sold to the domestic market.

Actual eligibility date

9 March 2012


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