Two declarations of emergency, one setting the 2006 recreational fishing season dates for red snapper and the other setting the 2006 commercial fishing season dates for red snapper and other reef fish and setting trip limits for grouper, were issued by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at the Jan. 5 meeting, as recommended by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
The recreational fishing season for red snapper in Louisiana state waters will open at 12:01 a.m. on April 21, 2006. The season will remain open until midnight Oct. 31 to coincide with season dates in federal waters. The size limit for red snapper taken by recreational fishermen will be 16 inches minimum total length, with a daily bag limit and possession limit of four fish per person.
The commission also authorized LDWF Secretary Dwight Landreneau to change or modify opening and closing dates for the recreational red snapper season in Louisiana waters to comply with changes or modifications in season dates in federal waters.
The first commercial fishing season for red snapper will open at 12 noon on Feb. 1, 2006, and remain open until 12 noon on Feb. 10. This pattern will continue each month until two-thirds of the 2006 commercial quota for red snapper is harvested. The second commercial red snapper season will open at 12 noon on Oct. 1, 2006, and remain open until 12 noon on Oct. 10. The pattern will also continue each month until the entire 2006 quota is harvested. The minimum size limit for commercially harvested red snapper is 15 inches total length.
The commission also authorized the LDWF secretary to change opening and closing dates for the commercial red snapper season in Louisiana waters to comply with changes or modifications in season dates in federal waters.
The commission also set a commercial trip and possession limit for deep-water and shallow-water grouper combined (black, misty, Warsaw, red, snowy, yellowedge, yellowfin and yellowmouth groupers, red hind, rock hind, speckled hind, gag and scamp), to be 6,000 pounds per vessel.
The commission authorized the LDWF secretary to establish and modify trip and possession limits and to close the season for the commercial harvest of any species or group of species of reef fish in Louisiana state waters if he is informed by the Regional Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service that the applicable commercial quota has been harvested in the Gulf of Mexico, and if he is requested by NMFS to enact compatible regulations in Louisiana state waters.
The secretary was also authorized to re-open and close those commercial seasons in Louisiana state waters if the commercial season dates in the Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico have been modified, and that NMFS requests that the season be modified in Louisiana state waters.
The commission's actions ensure that regulations in state waters will complement regulations of the NMFS for federally managed waters. NMFS and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council typically request consistent regulations for Louisiana waters to enhance effectiveness and enforceability of regulations.
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