Red Snapper Management banner

If ever there was a time fishermen need to answer a call, this is it, and, one more time, it’s about red snapper.

There’s a convergence here including:

  • the 39-day extended recreational red snapper season has ended;
  • the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries broached the subject of a fall recreational red snapper season late last week;
  • a Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting is coming up the first week in October;
  • Louisiana’s red snapper management proposal is likely to resurface at that meeting;
  • and, a call has gone out from Wildlife and Fisheries Commission chairman Chad Courville asking fishermen to go to the LDWF website and comment on the LDWF’s demonstrated ability to manage red snapper.

“We need to make a strong presentation at the (Gulf) council meeting,” Courville said, adding the best way is to be able to present a heavy stack of public comments covering this and any other issue taken up in GMFMC meetings.

To submit comments go to the LDWF website:

You can wait for the banner “Red Snapper Management” to cycle up on your screen, then click, then find the “Management,” then click on the “Fill out this form to send us your thoughts on red snapper management.”

That’s where this “Louisiana plan,” comes into play along with comments about this year’s extended season.

The LDWF’s LA Creel survey showed the final recreational numbers came up more than 100,000 pounds short of the state’s self-imposed 1.04 million-pound red snapper quota — that’s what prompted planned discussion of a fall snapper season for the LWFC’s Oct. 5 meeting — and how this plays into the state’s intention of managing red snapper out to 200 miles. That boundary is a the heart of the state’s plan: it would draw a line into the Gulf of Mexico to determine Louisiana waters from Mississippi and Texas.

August’s GMFMC meeting outlined the two ways to get the state into red snapper management.

The first is a plan to give the state the authority to set daily catch and lengths of a season with federal managers giving Louisiana its allotted total catch.

The second introduces another term “delegation” to the snapper discussion.

“Delegation means the state would have the authority to do stock sizes and do stock assessment and determine what the catch would be,” Louisiana GMFMC recreational rep Camp Matens said. “Delegation requires 75 percent of the (17-member) Council approve the plan.”

The surprising part in this discussion was a reversal of position by GMFMC top man Roy Crabtree, who came in support of delegation.

“It’s important to have these comments to submit to (GMFMC) staff,” Matens said. “There are times when comments have been ignored, but during meetings, council members can ask questions about the general tone of the comments.

“And it helps when, as with the Louisiana survey, to have a signature with the comment,” Matens said. “It adds to the credibility of the comment, but if you don’t make comment, then you’ve lost. You have to know that, on balance, your comment has value.”

A link to the site:

Lottery hunting

The folks managing the Cameron Prairie refuge system have set a Sept. 30 application deadline for youth and senior lottery hunts for the upcoming duck season.

Youth hunts are open to ages 10-17. There are five blinds each day for lottery hunts on Nov. 11, 18, 22, 25; Dec. 2, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30; and, Jan. 3, 6, 13, 20. An adult supervisor must accompany up to two youth hunters and the adult will be allowed to hunt.

The senior lottery hunts are open to hunters 55 and older as of Nov. 1. Again there will be five blinds, and available dates are Nov. 15 & 29 and Jan 10 &17. When drawn, seniors can invite guests of any age.

Here’s how to apply:

Send one, white 3x5 index card for each hunt — but not each date — and make sure to print or type either 1) Cameron Prairie Youth Waterfowl Hunt or 2) Cameron Prairie Senior Waterfowl Hunt, then print or type on separate lines your name, age as of Nov. 1, complete mailing address, email address, contact telephone number, and preferred Hunt Date and up to four alternate dates, in priority order, or write “any available date.”

Application cards can be sent or delivered to: Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, 1428 Hwy. 27, Bell City, LA 70630 and must be at this location by 3 p.m. Sept. 30.

No phone applications will be accepted.

Refuge folks will notify you by Nov. 1 if you’re drawn for one of the lotteries.

If you need more, call Cameron Prairie at (337) 598-2216.