It’s good to see the pandemic era reconnecting Louisianians with the great outdoors, and one effect is that fishing license sales are up 50% this spring.
But the state’s fish testing program, which helps advise all those freshly minted anglers where fish are safe to catch and eat, is running out of money.
The state’s annual budget is about $35 billion, and the fish testing program costs about $500,000. The program supports fish tissue sampling at dozens of sites around the state each year, and has led to 58 advisories involving high levels of contamination.
Almost all of Louisiana’s fishing spots are perfectly safe, so the program helps assure anglers and the small businesses that support our fishing culture, the marinas and bait-sellers and guides.
But legislators seem more interested in passing government giveaway programs for politically connected businesses than protecting the people who love to fish — and the people who love to eat fish.