LWFC Approves Two New Data Collection Measures for the Recreational Harvest of Reef Fish

Release Date: 07/02/2012

July 2, 2012 – Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved two notices of intent regarding the recreational harvest of reef fishincluding new reporting requirements and the utilization of a free, Offshore Recreational Landings permit. 

The two new measures are the Department’s first steps in a movement towards regional management.  The Department will use this information to collect essential angler and harvest data, which will in turn provide additional liberties and flexibility for recreational fishermen.  

Current management of reef fish involves not only LDWF, but also the federal government.  Management decisions are set for the entire Gulf of Mexico, rather than specific seasons and limits for each fishery at a regional or state level.  These decisions are based upon limited data, often unavailable on a timely basis.  The notices of intent passed today by the Commission will allow data to be readily available shortly after being collected. 

The first notice of intent expands the use of the Offshore Recreational Landings Permit to include all species of amberjack, grouper, hind and snapper, with the exception of gray snapper.  The Offshore Recreational Landings Permit was ratified by the Commission earlier this year and was originally approved for tuna, billfish and swordfish.  This free permit will soon be available to the public. 

In a related action, the Commission also approved a notice of intent that modifies current reef fish regulations.  Regulations will now require reporting and validation for certain recreationally landed reef fish.  Reef fish included in the expanded reporting requirements are: red snapper, greater amberjack, gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, scamp, rock hind and red hind.  The reporting requirements for reef fish would be similar to those approved for yellowfin tuna earlier this year by the Commission. 

Future modifications to reef fish regulations would allow the LDWF Secretary to close, open, reopen or reclose any reef fish season if state or federal landings allocations are met. 

Public comments on both notices of intent will be accepted until Thursday, October 4, 2012.  Comments may be submitted to Jason Adriance, Office of Fisheries, LDWF, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email at jadriance@wlf.la.gov.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF. 

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.