Commission answers questions about expanded state waters
When the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a fishing-only state-waters boundary out to three marine leagues earlier this month, questions flowed about what that new boundary meant.
The department answered those questions in a release issued late Tuesday.
First, the move from the recognized three-mile state-water boundary out three marine leagues moves state waters, for fisheries enforcement, out to 10.357 miles.
Second, the commission’s vote meant that the state recognizes the 10.357 miles immediately, again, for fisheries matters only.
The release further stated: “With this action, boaters and anglers are reminded that all state regulations previously enforced within the three-mile boundary will be applicable to the expanded (three marine leagues) waters.”
The announcement carried a list of what the LDWF interpreted the move to mean for recreational and commercial fishermen.
- Resident and nonresident recreational and commercial fishermen are required to have the proper state licenses for all fishing activities out to 10.357 miles.
- For shrimpers in this expanded area, each shrimping vessel is allowed to use nets that do not exceed a total maximum per vessel length of 130 feet of cork line and 165 feet of lead line in addition to one test trawl.
- And gill nets, trammel nets, strike nets and/or seines aboard any vessel in saltwater areas out to 10.357 miles are prohibited “unless the captain or owner of the vessel has possession of an LDWF issued traversing permit,” and warned that none of this gear is allowed to be used in state waters.
This provision carried a stern warning: “Fishermen convicted of possessing these nets or seines without a traversing permit will have their permits revoked permanently without the possibility for renewal.”
The department’s clarification carried a note that all fishermen “are urged to use caution and their own personal judgment when fishing beyond the three-mile boundary,” because the LDWF release indicated the state agency expects federal enforcement personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard will enforce federal law, and that LDWF Enforcement Division agents will enforce all federal regulations “which are concurrent with state law within the new zone.”
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ secretary Robert Barham pushed for the addition of more than seven miles to state waters under the provisions of Act 336 of the 2011 State Legislature.
The Act 336 pushed Louisiana’s gulfward boundary out to three marine leagues after research showed an historical designation of state waters to be three marine leagues instead of three miles, and recognized that the U.S. Congress has to approve the move.
Barham said acting to push the boundary out to more than 10 miles will force Congress to act: “They (Congress) will never take action unless we do something,” Barham said.
A map outlining the new boundary waters, including GPS coordinates, is available on LDWF’s website: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/revised-louisiana-gulfward-boundary.
Constant east winds and a forecast of strong winds for the next several days have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a coastal flood watch for low-lying areas in Plaquemines Parish, and forced parish officials in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes to close floodgates Wednesday.
The Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District announced Wednesday that the Humble Canal Barge Structure and the Bayou Terrebonne Floodgate in Montegut were closed and that personnel were monitoring water levels for a possible closure of the Little Caillou Floodgate at the Boudreaux Canal.
The TLCD’s Angela Rains said structures will reopen when conditions “become favorable.”
Redfish & kayaks
It wasn’t surprising that two north Florida anglers came to Delacroix and won the big prize in last weekend’s IFA Redfish Tour event out of Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix.
That’s happened before.
What stunned the field was that the 10th-place team, Louisiana coastal veterans Chad Dufrene and Jay Cedotal, weighed in a redfish measuring less than 27 inches long that weighed nine pounds, something that Florida fishermen never see in their home waters, because Louisiana produces much larger redfish in terms of length-to-weight ratios than other Gulf States.
But the Niceville, Fla., team of Wes and Blake Nelson took home a rigged-out Ranger Banshee Extreme boat ($30,000) for their two-redfish catch weighing 15.87 pounds, while Dufrene and Cedotal earned a $500 Berkley Gulp! Big Fish Award and a $250 Cabela’s gift card.
The next day, Mobile, Ala., angler Vlad Moldoveanu won the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour event from the same launch. His redfish and speckled trout entries measured 54.125 inches.
Baton Rouge “skinny-water” veteran Brendan Bayard finished second and Geismar’s Steve Lessard was third.
Most all fishermen indicated that Gulp! artificials produced the big strikes.