The Wild Side: Easter best celebrated joyfully

There’s little doubt timeliness is important for reporters, and more importantly for a reporter’s readers.

That means you should be reading about Roy Crabtree, the man who heads the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and his recent proclamation about Louisiana and our recreational red snapper season. That’s going to happen next week.

For now, Eastern Sunday should mean more to us than calling for this man’s head, well maybe not his head but certainly his job, and should be more about welcoming the rebirth of our soils to the welcoming, warming sun.

It looks like we’re heading for a real spring, not the one or two weeks when we break winter’s hold and almost immediately move into 90-degree summer days when most folks are two or three weeks into spring.

It looks like our major rivers won’t pose much of a flooding threat during the next three months.

That’s good and bad: Have you ever noticed that the years when crawfish seasons are down, the spring shrimp seasons are good. Not to be greedy, but could we have at least one year when crawfishermen and shrimpers have good years? Lord knows, most of them can use the money.

And with hard southerly winds taking the edge off cold fronts, and the lower-than-normal Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers (for this time of year) and water temperatures climbing with every sunny day, this could be the year to break six straight “down” years for the spring brown shrimp season that will open sometime in May.

More controversy

This spring will bring more controversy.

The state-versus-federal battle over recreational red snapper will come to a head at some point, while bass fishermen around here will butt heads over the proposed new regulations for the Atchafalaya Spillway and surrounding waters.

There’s more: Last week, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that extends Mississippi’s territorial waters into the Gulf of Mexico to three marine leagues, to match the same move Louisiana made last year, and made Alabama the only state that continues to cling to a three-mile state-waters boundary into the Gulf. Texas and Florida already have nine miles of state waters into the Gulf.

There was no secret that Mississippi’s new act is designed to take control over fisheries in what it now claims to be state waters. That also mimics Louisiana’s fisheries-only intent by the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to extend state waters out to 10.357 miles.

The Louisiana Legislature will join the fight, too, now that Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, has filed a bill to prohibit the sale of red snapper in the state. Allain said it’s a move to force Crabtree and his staff to explain their moves.

Allain has also offered a bill to constitutionally protect the Artificial Reef Development Fund from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration raids during the past two years, and the planned raid of the fund this year.