Over 200 fishermen and women attended a meeting to discuss the restoration of Spotted Seatrout populations off the Louisiana coast.
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries held a meeting at North Branch Library in Gray, Monday, February 10, to discuss possible restrictions on fishing to help rebuild Spotted Seatrout stock to sustainable levels.
“It’s hard when you want to try to change something like fishing,” William Fabre, an attendee, who walked up during comments. “You’d be better off trying to take away beer.”
Seven different possible solutions were voted on to gauge audience opinion on some solutions. None of these have been enacted, and are still subject to change before implementation.
The meeting was held because, according to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries data, stock has been overfished since 2014, populations have been subject to overfishing 6 out of the last 10 years, as well as other factors.
“Our goal as a department is, biologically, we’d like to see at least a 20% reduction,” said Jason Adriance, biologist with LDWF.” And we’d like to see a recovery by 2025.”
Prior to the data being presented, the audience was polled on their concern for the trout’s status: 36% voted extremely concerned. After the presentation 48% voted extremely concerned.
Polls throughout the meeting averaged about 185 votes per question.
Of the 7 options, 39% were for size restrictions only (the next closest was 28% for creel and size change). The audience did not have a “none of the above” option.
The majority of the audience, 52%, were age 60 or over, 40% fished 50 times a year or more, and primarily fished in the Terrebonne/Timbalier area – most were charter fishermen.
“Something’s got to change, it’s just how to go about it,” said Travis Miller, a charter guide. “I just hope they don’t get too aggressive.”
Miller said he would like to see them push back the number of years for recovery from the proposed five years to something like seven. He said this would loosen up the strict limitations and allow for a smoother economic transition. Commercial fishing draws customers to the area, and restrictions could have a ripple effect, he said.
More meeting will be held throughout February:
Wednesday, February 12, 2020: LDWF Headquarters, Herring Room, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.
Thursday, February 13, 2020: Lafayette Council Chambers, 705 West University Avenue, Lafayette, LA.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020: East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie, LA.
Thursday, February 20, 2020: Slidell Municipal Auditorium, 2056 Second Street, Slidell, LA.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020: Calcasieu Parish Extension Office, 7101 Gulf Highway, Lake Charles, LA.
Thursday, February 27, 2020: Rapides Parish Extension Office, 300 Grady Britt Drive, Alexandria, LA.
Saturday, February 29, 2020: Lincoln Parish Library, 910 North Trenton Street, Ruston, LA; begins at 1 pm.
For more info from the presentation visit: “www.wlf.louisiana.gov/spotted-seatrout”. To send in suggestions Jason Adriance, LDWF biologist, can be reached at “email@example.com”.