Commissioners go to bat for frustrated Louisiana Anglers
Unanimous resolution ensures that Louisiana will keep fighting the good fight against flawed federal management
On Thursday, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission unanimously passed a resolution directing the department to continue down the path of state management of red snapper. The resolution, offered by Commissioner Julie Hebert of Luling, was well-timed as earlier in the week the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council projected a 2016 recreational red snapper season of 8 days, the shortest in history.
The resolution states:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission directs the Department to continue supporting the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA) and to strongly urge Congress to transfer authority over both fisheries management and scientific data collections for the red snapper resource in state and federal waters off of Louisiana to the states in an effort to continue to conserve the red snapper resource, ensure fair and equitable access to the red snapper fishery, and preserve the economy and culture of Louisiana’s coast.
“This is a very positive step in our continuing struggle for equity and better management,” said CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson. “Clearly, the federal system has failed, and will continue to do so. It is creating a situation where more than 70% of the Gulf red snapper resource will be privately owned by a select few. Meanwhile, millions of anglers are left to fend for the scraps.”
Beginning in 2009, Louisiana emerged as a Gulf-wide leader on red snapper. Since being appointed in January, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon and members of his executive staff have expressed intentions to continue those efforts towards state management. Passage of the resolution Thursday adds the Commission’s voice reaffirming the position of the State of Louisiana.
The resolution noted Louisiana’s long history of successful commercial and recreational fisheries management, the superiority of the LACREEL program in comparison to the flawed federal data collection program (MRIP), and the ability for Louisiana to manage the fisheries with flexibility, and tailor that management to our specific needs.
“Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a proven record of successful fisheries management for all sectors,” said Cresson. “Having managed some of the nation’s most important recreational and commercial fisheries well for years, we have every confidence that this department would bring that same level of success to the red snapper fishery.”
Gulf red snapper remains one of the most contentious fisheries in the nation, and has been complicated by federal management policies that have awarded private ownership privileges to commercial operators and left recreational anglers with extremely limited opportunities. CCA is supporting federal legislation (HR 3094) that would shift management of the entire red snapper fishery to the Gulf states.