For the first time in 14 years, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will increase its license fees for recreational, saltwater fishing from $15.00 to $22.50 on August 1. The increase places Louisiana firmly in the middle of saltwater license fees among Gulf States. The Department expects to generate an additional $2.25 million annually, which will be used to fund the agency’s LA Creel program.
LDWF recognized the shortcomings of the federally established Marine Recreational Information Program to provide the best available data to fisheries managers and began collecting their own recreational statistics through a new data collection program called LA Creel.
Since federal officials do not recognize LA Creel as MRIP compatible, over half a million dollars typically used to fund recreational surveying in Louisiana was pulled, leaving the Department responsible for the financial burden of data collection. The Department recognized that it was unable to adequately fund a high quality, precise recreational survey for the long term and sought angler support to fund the survey through a license fee increase.
The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, with LDWF support, sponsored a bill to increase license fees. The bill was introduced by Rep. Stuart Bishop, passed the 2014 Legislative Session, and was signed by Governor Jindal on June 19, 2014. The license fee increase contains a sunset provision where the increase will have to be revisited in 2018.