Commission Approves Action to Modify Reef Fish Rules

Release Date: 04/05/2012

 

April 5, 2012 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission considered actions today to amend rules for the harvest of reef fish, specifically the recreational seasons, bag limits and commercial size limits for grouper. 

Following the commission’s action to move forward with the proposed changes, there will be a public comment period through July 5, 2012.

The proposed changes include:

  • Change recreational bag limits for shallow and deep water groupers (red hind, rock hind, speckled hind, black grouper, misty grouper, red grouper, snowy grouper, yellowedge grouper, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, Warsaw grouper, gag grouper and scamp) from an aggregate bag limit of five fish with no more than five gag grouper and two red grouper to an aggregate bag limit of four fish per day with no more than two gag grouper or four red grouper. 
  • The commercial size limit for gag grouper would be reduced from 24 inches total length to 22 inches total length.  This size limit change is intended to reduce regulatory discard mortality in the commercial sector. 
  • Establish a closed season for the recreational harvest of gag grouper from November 1 through May 31 (of the following year), and a closed season for the recreational harvest of greater amberjack from June 1 through July 31, of each year. 
  • Change the closed season for recreational harvest of black, red, yellowfin and yellowmouth groupers as well as rock hind, red hind and scamp to February 1 through March 31, of each year.  Currently only black and red grouper are closed from February 15 through March 14.
  • Change the definition of crew size on a vessel, when operating commercially, which holds a Federal Charterboat/Headboat Reef Fish Permit and a Federal Commercial Reef Fish Permit, to be no more than four persons, including the operator and crew.  

In a separate action, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission also took measures to create an emergency rule that modifies the aggregate bag limit for groupers from five fish to four fish per person, per day with no more than one speckled hind and one Warsaw grouper per vessel and not more than four red grouper and two gag grouper per person per day.  

Previously, the limit on gag grouper was the same as the aggregate grouper limit.

The emergency rule also establishes a gag grouper season from June 1 through October 31. 

The gag grouper season is currently closed.

Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed Rule to: Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898‑9000, or via e-mail to:  jadriance@wlf.la.gov prior to Thursday, July 5, 2012.

For more information please contact Laura Wooderson at (225) 610.2363 or lwooderson@wlf.la.gov.