BATON ROUGE: The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had a motion passed at the recent meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) that could eventually allow Louisiana the ability to manage the recreational red snapper fishery in federal waters in addition to state waters.
“This motion is a victory for all anglers fishing from Louisiana ports. If this amendment is approved, federal waters will no longer be off limits for large portions of the season,” said Jack Montoucet, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
“The motion is in keeping with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ long-held support of state management of red snapper for the recreational angling community.”
“LA Creel is an integral part of our scientific data collection program and the cornerstone for passage of this motion,” Montoucet said. “Louisiana anglers will be rewarded for their efforts in making LA Creel one of the best data collection programs in the country.”
LA Creel is the harvest data program designed and implemented by LDWF to closely track the amount of fish caught by recreational anglers in Louisiana. It has been widely recognized by other states and the National Marine Fisheries Service as the best in the gulf and enables LDWF to manage fishing seasons in near real time.
The Gulf Council passed by an 11-5 vote the motion to begin the amendment to allow Louisiana the new powers at its April 6 meeting in Birmingham, Ala.
The Gulf Council will deliberate on the new amendment over the next year to refine the “Louisiana only” plan. Under this amendment, Louisiana would act as pilot for the other Gulf states. The amendment would only allow Louisiana control of the recreational red snapper fishery in federal waters adjacent to the state for three years (2019 through 2021). If the pilot is successful, a similar program could be implemented Gulf-wide.
This action includes both the private angling and for-hire components of the recreational fishery.
The LDWF thanks the private anglers and for-hire fishermen who have taken the time to express their opinions at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meetings.