LWFC approves recreational offshore landing permit

While there was action on the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ proposed new Louisiana recreational offshore landing permit, what the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission heard during its monthly meeting Thursday in Baton Rouge sets the stage for some heavy hitting action in the first months of 2013.

The LWFC approved a notice that will establish the offshore landing permit that will apply to all recreational fishermen taking most reef-fish species, including red snapper, amberjack and most grouper and yellowfin tuna.

The permit will require anglers to report catches of yellowfin tuna only.

LDWF Marine Fisheries Section biologist Harry Blanchet told the commission that the agency will use the reporting system for tuna to determine the effectiveness of collecting data on that species before the permit regulation will require anglers to report reef-fish catches.

The notice also included a chance for the public to comment on the new permit. All comments can be sent to Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, LDWF, Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA. 70898-9000, and must be received by Feb. 6, 2013..

The LWFC ended the meeting by going into executive session to discuss a possible lawsuit over Gov. Bobby Jindal’s and the State Legislature’s raid of $44 million from the Artificial Reef Program during the last two legislative sessions.

LWFC chair Ann Taylor said no action was taken, but commission member Ronny Graham asked LDWF assistant secretary Randy Pausina for a detailed report on the monies remaining in the ARP fund and any proposed projects that will use those funds.

Pausina was also involved in a explanation of the state’s move for regional fisheries management in the state’s coastal and offshore waters. Pausina reported that meetings scheduled among the five Gulf States will precede a special Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in January in Tampa, Fla. to discuss regional fisheries management among the five states.

Other LWFC action included:

Approving a move that mimics Federal rules about the taking of non-sandbar large coastal sharks from state waters. The change allows a per-trip increase from 33 to 36 on these sharks;

Approving an amended closure of the shrimp inshore and offshore season in the area from Caillou Boca west to the Atchafalaya River for Dec. 18, and a Jan. 7 closure from the Atchafalaya west to Freshwater Bayou;

Recognizing state Enforcement Division Capt. Robert Buatt as the winner of the Shikar Safari Club International’s Agent of the Year Award;

Learning that, during November, Enforcement Division agents issued 1,721 citations and that there was one boating fatality in the state;

And, setting the April 2013 meeting for April 4 in Baton Rouge.