At yesterday's meeting, the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission passed a Notice of Intent (NOI) to amend rules to the menhaden fishery regarding the buffer zone and spill reporting.
This portion of the NOI establishes a coastal buffer zone for the commercial harvest of menhaden 1-mile off the entire Louisiana coastline and three miles from the area between Holly Beach and Rutherford Beach in western Louisiana. This action will extend the existing ¼-mile buffer and the existing 3-mile buffer at Grand Isle, La. will remain in place.
The section of the NOI establishes a 48-hour period for retrieving any menhaden or bycatch that is unintentionally or intentionally released into the environment and provides penalties and restitution associated with failure to comply. Additionally, the NOI specifies that reporting must also be made by phone call (in addition to the existing email requirement) within 2 hours of any release to the Enforcement Division. The proposed rule modification details specific reporting elements that must be included in the notification to the Enforcement Division.
The data that will be required to be reported after a fish release will include:
- Date and time of the release
- Species of fish released
- Disposition of the fish released
- Name of the vessel which released the fish
- Estimation of the number of fish released
- Photo / Video evidence of the release
- Coordinates of the release
- Causative factors of the release
Before the rule becomes final, the Commission will hear a presentation about the economic impacts of this rule.
To view the full Notice of Intent, click here.