The state’s LA Creel Program’s efforts to produce real-time data on species like red snapper could result in additional days for Louisiana recreational red snapper fishermen.
That news, plus continuing debates over duck seasons and state funds donated for waterfowl projects, dominated Thursday’s Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting in Baton Rouge.
LA Creel is the program the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries uses to determine catch of several marine fish species, including red snapper. Fisheries biologist Joey Shepard is the program manager, and data the LA Creel team produced from the state’s March 20-Sept. 8 recreational red snapper season in state waters, and the June 1-10 season in federal waters, showed the state’s total recreational take was 88,832 pounds shy of the state’s historic recreational catch of 1,082,786 pounds.
Shepard said the department is considering a November recreational season in state waters to fill out that annual harvest.
In a carryover from its voting September meeting deadlock, the LWFC voted to delay until the November meeting a decision to which organization, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl and/or United Prairie, would receivee as much as $300,000 from hunters’ license fees for waterfowl enhancement projects. The move is the result in a delay in a ruling from the state’s attorney general’s office on the intent of the statute allowing this donation.
Another waterfowl issue surfaced from a possible change in the state’s waterfowl hunting zones for the 2016-2017, a decision that will hold the state’s to those boundaries through 2021.
A map outlining new boundaries for the state’s West, Coastal and East zones will be forthcoming Friday, and will be up for public comment through the commission’s Nov. 5 meeting in Baton Rouge. The state faces a Dec. 1 deadline for submitting its zones to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
State Waterfowl Study leader Larry Reynolds said if the commission does not meet the Dec. 1 deadline, it will have another year to come up with its waterfowl zones through 2021 season, and will use current zones for the 2016-2017 season.
Other commission action included:
- Recognizing Benton Elementary and Benton Middle schools for their recent Archery in the School world titles and Benton Elementary student Ama Bunch for her world championship;
- Hearing that state Enforcement Division issued 410 citations during September, and of a September boating fatality in Jefferson Parish;
- And, approving a Feb. 4, 2016 date for its monthly meeting in Baton Rouge.