Recreational fishing in state under attack, attorney general fights back

Published 11:46 am Friday, August 26, 2022

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Special to the Daily News

BATON ROUGE, LA – Attorney General Jeff Landry has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit attempting to stifle recreational fishing in Louisiana.

The lawsuit filed by commercial fishermen challenges a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) rule that reallocates the Gulf red grouper quota from 24 percent /76 percent rec/commercial to 40.7 percent/59.3 percent rec/commercial. Attorney General Landry has requested to intervene to defend the rule.

“I will continue fighting to ensure Louisiana remains ‘The Sportsman’s Paradise’ for all who live and visit here,” said Landry. “Recreational and commercial fishing have coexisted in Louisiana for ages; we cannot allow one to be preserved at the expense of the other.”

The rule implements new quotas derived from NMFS recalculating the original recreational and commercial allocation after essentially “calibrating” the original recreational harvest numbers so they reflect units as the current quotas. Under the new rule, quotas are set using catch estimated through the current Fishing Effort Survey (FES) rather than the old one. The FES data shows that there has been more recreational fishing effort than previously estimated with the old surveys, so using FES results in higher catch estimates than the earlier surveys for the same fishing effort.

“This precedent would have far-reaching effects as the arguments and remedies at issue apply broadly to all recreational fishing – including red snapper and other fish caught and landed in Louisiana in large numbers,” explained Attorney General Landry. “If this assault is left unchecked, many of Louisiana’s recreational fishermen would be greatly impacted; so I will do all that I legally can to stop the rule from being revoked.”