Alligator season winds down

By JAMES A. ROBICHAUX

jrobichaux@daily-review.com

MORGAN CITY, La. -- Although Hurricane Isaac affected this year’s alligator season, a harvest of about 35,000 gators is expected for the season in the lower Atchafalaya area.

Alligator “harvest season” east of the Atchafalaya River was extended by one week until Oct. 4, according to Noel Kinler, alligator program manager of the Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries.

“We’ve issued 37,290 tags, and we anticipate a harvest of about 35,000,” he said.

Locally, dealer Reed Crappell of Crappell’s Fish Market reports a few hurricane-related issues, particularly with large amounts of dead fish caused by Hurricane Isaac.

“We had a few fishermen with problems with the fish kill, which caused the alligators to eat so many rotten fish that they didn’t bite the lines,” he said.

“Our fishermen have just tagged out. We finished this weekend,” he said Monday morning.

Crappell said hunters here had not been affected by Isaac, but that his company buys alligators from Plaquemines Parish hunters and the number of alligators from that area is down.

Crappell’s Fish Market buys all the alligators that it receives for American Tanning & Leather Company, Crappell said. “A couple of thousand” alligators came through his market, Crappell said.

Kinler said that he would not know the total number of alligators harvested until mid-October.

“It’s probably lagging behind a bit in Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes,” he said. “Those areas were impacted hard by Hurricane Isaac.”

“Normally, in a 30-day season, if we don’t have any threat or occurrence of storms, everyone can complete a harvest,” Kinler said.

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