Legal Corner: Do I need a fishing license to go crabbing?

Legal Corner: Do I need a fishing license to go crabbing?

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Question: I live next door to a business in Calcasieu Parish. For as long as it's been there, over 15 years, it had a wooden fence separating its property from ours. A few weeks ago, on a very windy day, a portion of the fence blew down into my yard. They did pick it up off my property a few days later. I spoke with the owner and he said he hoped to have it up in 2 days. It's been 6-7 weeks now with nothing done or mention of it. Is he required to put the fence back up? It overlooks directly into my property and home which has been here close to 70 years.

Unless there is a local zoning ordinance, there is no standing obligation for businesses to put up fences overlooking private property in Calcasieu Parish. One exception is that some businesses get a variance to build in or adjacent to residential areas where, in exchange for the variance, one of the stipulations is they will construct a privacy fence. The viewer may want to research whether that was part of any agreement the business made with the Parish or City. But just because the fence has been there a number of years does not automatically require its resurrection when it is damaged or destroyed.

Question: Do I need a fishing license to go crabbing? What about a license to fish with a cane pole does the law require that?

You do not need a fishing license to use a crab line, or a dip net. You only need a license if you have crab traps – which requires a basic (salt and freshwater) fishing license and a "gear" or non-commercial (meaning you do not sell the crabs) license. You are allowed up to 10 marked traps. The collapsible string traps, as opposed to the metal ones, are considered dip nets. The confusion about licensing happens when someone crabs in a wildlife management area (WMA) or a wildlife refuge – they often require basic licenses to crab there, and people are in violation if they crab there with no license.

As far as the cane pole, yes, you are required to have a license but it does not have to be a basic fishing license – there is a cheaper "hook and line" license you can purchase, which allows you to legally fish with a cane pole.

You can review the licenses and the prices at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website.

Question: I own a portion of some property along with my brothers and sisters from an inheritance. Some siblings want to sell the land for their share, others say they want to "keep it in the family" and object to it being sold. They claim that no sale can occur without their permission. Please tell me that is not true?

Owning property that has not been divided is known as owning in "indivision," and defined in Civil Code Article 797. "Ownership of the same thing by two or more persons is ownership in indivision." And the code is clear, you do not have to remain an owner in undivided property if you choose not to. "No one may be compelled to hold a thing in indivision with another unless the contrary has been provided by law or juridical act." Civil Code Article 807. Three ways the law provides a way out are partition in kind, partition by licitation, or private sale - these are found in Civil Code Articles 810 and 811. "In kind" refers to the court actually dividing the land into separate lots that are equal in value or size. "Licitation" refers to a public sale, the proceeds being split equally among the owners. In a private sale, there is usually an agreed upon agent and buyer.

Disclaimer: The information furnished in this answer is general and may not apply to some situations. All legal situations are unique. No one should rely to their detriment on these answers. Anyone with a potential legal problem should seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any action or inaction. The answers provided are not intended to be specific legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created between the SWLA Law Center and the viewers of KPLC TV.

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