After last week’s report about the impacts of the continued flooding along the lower Mississippi River and throughout the Atchafalaya River on commercial and recreational fishing, it was natural Gov. John Bel Edwards followed with a request for federal disaster funds for the state.
Earlier in the week, Edwards’ letter to U.S. Department of Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross outlined declining catches of shrimp, crabs and finfish along with a reduced oyster landings since the rivers began rising in late 2018.
Edwards pointed to last week’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ study which identified, as stated in the release, “Troubling mortality rates among oysters, declining fish catches and the financial damage to the livelihoods of those in the fishing industry caused by floodwaters rushing from the Bonnet Carre Spillway.”
A paragraph from Edwards’ letter summarized Louisiana’s plight: “Such a declaration of a federal disaster for Louisiana may help in obtaining federal financial assistance for our fishers, processors, docks, and for the state to help rehabilitate the important fishery species upon which our seafood industry relies.”
The complete letter is available on the governor’s website: gov.louisiana.gov. There you can find the “newsroom” pulldown and the letter, as of Tuesday, was second on the list.
Wyatt Ensminger is becoming a Junior Southwest Bassmasters legend after the high-schooler brought in 10 bass weighing 25.03 pounds to claim both the age-group and overall heaviest catch in last weekend’s Father’s Day two-day event on Lake Concordia.
Aaron Borne’s 4.66-pounder was the heaviest over the two days.
Club sponsor Jim Breaux reported the youngsters said most of the fish were caught on “(plastic) frogs, swimbaits, shakey-head jigs and, later in the day, on ‘wacky-style’ baits."
For more on JSB, call Breaux at (225) 772-3026.
Through June 2, LA Creel’s estimate of the recreational red snapper catch hit 183,766 pounds, or 23 percent of Louisiana’s allocation. The weekends-only season will remain open until the state’s survey determines 816,439 pounds have been taken.
A lesson, maybe
It’s not likely Eric Breaux, 32, of New Iberia, nor 51-year-old Jimmy Brown, of Mobile, Alabama, will forget June 12, the date state agents found the two on an oil supply boat with fish filets in violation of state and federal regulations.
Brown allegedly had 90 pounds of red snapper filets, near 10 pounds of Spanish mackerel filets and some cobia meat, while Breaux had 16 pounds of red snapper filets and 7.1 pounds of out-of-season blacktip shark. Brown had no fishing licenses, and both men face extensive fines and civil restitution penalties.
This is the second case agents have made while inspecting oil supply vessels entering Belle Pass during the past month.