Recreational and commercial fishermen will have no changes in daily nor sized limits and the state will not alter current federal commercial fishing regulations on the use of gear in state waters out to nine miles.
The one-year rule pushing state boundary waters out to nine nautical miles from the state’s wildly meandering coastline was given Congressional approval in December.
In some cases, state laws governing gear use by commercial fisheries were more strict than federal laws.
Thursday, during the state Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s monthly meeting, the LDWC unanimously approved a resolution to apply state recreational regulations and retain federal commercial fishing regulations out to the nine-mile limit.
“Our agency is committed to extending reef fish access to our private anglers through nine miles, but we want our commercial fishermen to know that stricter state gear rules will not apply to their fishery inside of this boundary,” newly appointed Department of Wildlife and Fisheries secretary Charlie Melancon said.
The commission also approved two other fisheries items. The first was to adopt in the state rules recently enacted federal regulations on the commercial catch of gray triggerfish and greater amberjack. The new regs allow commercial trip limits of 12 on gray triggerfish and 1,500 pounds (down from 2,000 pounds) for greater amberjack. The move also included an increase from 30 inches minimum size to 34 inches for recreational taken greater amberjack. The commercial minimum size limit remained 36 inches.
State biologist Jason Adriance told the commission amberjack is currently overfished and new data showed the minimum-size increase in amberjack will push the reproduction percentage in the stock from 11 to 85 percent.
The commission also approved a LDWF report on striped mullet to the State Legislature. Adriance said the mullet stocks are healthy and far exceeding its ability to sustain, and even increase, its present numbers.
The main item for hunters came in an amendment to the proposed 2016-2017 goose season. The LWFC approved commission member Chad Courville motion to move the start of the specklebelly goose season to Nov. 5 to give hunters an 88-day season, not the proposed 81-day season, with the daily bag limit remaining at two.
The commission also amended the agenda to include election of chair and vice chair. The move was forced when Dan Davis, elected chairman during the January meeting, was not reappointed to the LWFC. Davis, from Houma, was serving out the three years remaining on the term of Mike Voisin, who passed away halfway through his six-year appointment by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Bart Yakupzack was moved from vice-chairman to chair the commission, while Courville was voted into Yakupzack’s second spot.
Other commission action included:
- Introducing new commission member, Springfield alligator farmer Nathan Wall;
- Hearing a presentation by Oyster Task Force leader John Tesvich on plans to end the state’s oyster lease moratorium;
- Receiving an update on the LDWF/LWFC role in local game and fish preserves across the state;
- Learning state Enforcement Division agents issued 578 citations, and there were no boating fatalities in the state in January;
- And, approving June 2 for that months meeting in Baton Rouge.