LDWF Accepting Public Input on Application for Permit to Test State Management of Recreational Red Snapper Fishery and Collect Habitat Data

Release Date: 01/10/2018

On January 18, 2018, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be submitting an application to NOAA Fisheries for an exempted fishing permit (EFP). NOAA Fisheries issues these permits to authorize activities, which would otherwise be prohibited by federal fishery regulations, for limited testing, data collection, exploratory fishing, and other purposes. NOAA Fisheries invited the Gulf states to apply for EFPs to lead reef fish management activities in the Gulf of Mexico.
LDWF’s proposed EFP study would test a state-based management approach that would allow recreational harvest of red snapper in both state and federal waters off Louisiana during seasons set by the state. LDWF would monitor landings through Louisiana’s existing recreational landings data collection program (LA Creel) and track fishing at oil and gas platforms, artificial reefs, and natural bottom habitat. Participants would also have the option to test new, voluntary electronic reporting methods. Seasons would be closed when landings approach or reach Louisiana’s recreational quota.
Anyone with a Louisiana Saltwater Fishing License and a Recreational Offshore Fishing Permit (ROLP) would be eligible to participate in the study. Participants would be required to indicate their preference to participate in the study via their ROLP account, provide vessel registration information (per federal requirements), and abide by the federal minimum size limit (currently 16 inches) and two fish bag limit.
Anglers and for-hire captains who would rather not participate in the EFP study would only be able fish for red snapper in state waters during the open state waters season or in federal waters under regulations set by NOAA Fisheries. However, it should be noted that the 2018 season could be extremely limited, especially in light of NOAA Fisheries request for these EFP applications as well as the extended 2017 recreational red snapper season exceeding the quota.
You can read the draft application and related frequently asked questions online. Keep in mind that this application is still in draft form and is subject to change—we would appreciate your feedback on the draft application by Tuesday, January 16, 2018, before we finalize our application for submission. Please send us comments via this form or by simply emailing redsnapper@wlf.la.gov .
LDWF will present its final EFP application at the upcoming Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter in New Orleans on January 31, 2018. You can provide feedback in person at the meeting or submit comments to the Gulf Council online. The EFP application will then be published in theFederal Register and made available for public comment for 30 days. Based on public comments, the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Administrator will decide whether or not to approve LDWF’s EFP application.