Sunday, March 03, 2024

LWF Commission to review redfish regs - again!

This Thursday, March 7th, the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Commission will once again review arguments and consider amendments to proposed redfish regulations. This comes after the 3-fish, 18-27 inch slot proposed Notice of Intent (NOI) passed in December by the Commission was only days away from taking effect.

By now, it's common knowledge that redfish are being overfished. In addition to a number of environmental problems that plague the species, the amount of fishing pressure has more than doubled since the current regulations were established in 1988. Biologists say that changes are necessary to restore both Escapement Rate and Spawning Potential Ratio (SPR) back to the conservation standard.

Several conservation groups have supported the 3-fish NOI, including the American Sportfishing Guides Association (ASGA), the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, the Gulf Coast Council of Fly Fishers International (FFI), to name a few.

However, one “conservation” group – along with their bowfishing allies – have continued to push for a four fish limit. What's the difference between a 3-fish limit and a 4-fish limit of the same slot sizes?  About 17 years longer recovery with the 4-fish limit! That group is not denying that they would like to build a hatchery for the purpose of stocking red drum in Louisiana waters. This despite much evidence that hatchery-raised redfish contribute less than 2 percent to recruitment of spawning stock.

What can you do?

  • Contact Commission members below and ask them to retain the current 3-fish NOI, and a faster recovery period.
  • Contact your state legislator and let them know you support the 3-fish NOI.
  • If possible, attend the March 7th Commission meeting in Baton Rouge and speak out!

In crafting your email, be kind and courteous. Please point out some of the issues facing redfish, including the fact that we've doubled the number of anglers since the current regulations were set 36 years ago!

Opponents of the 3-fish NOI have stated they are seeing lots of small reds in the marsh. At least where they fish.. not everyone is seeing this. The real problem is the number of fish making it to maturity. It takes 4-5 years, during which they have to avoid more threats now than ever before. At least 30 percent must escape or our stocks will continue to decline.

Again, if you can make the Commission hearing on March 7th, PLEASE DO SO. Meetings are held at LDWF headquarters, 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge, LA, beginning at 9:30 a.m..

If you can attend, please sign up prior to the meeting start to speak on the topic. Instructions are given when you signup.

Members of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

LA House Natural Resources Committee

With a strong email effort, and a strong turnout, we can finally win the battle to give redfish the faster recovery they need.