LDWF Secretary Robert Barham announced that the 2016 red snapper fishing season in state waters will begin at 6:00 a.m. on January 8, 2016 and remain open until further notice. The season will run seven days a week in state waters with a daily bag and possession limit of two fish per person at a 16-inch minimum total length.
“LDWF will do everything we can to provide our anglers the opportunity to harvest their share of this healthy and thriving resource,” said Barham.
Assistant Secretary, Randy Pausina said, “Through LA Creel, our recreational landings data collection program, we’re able to monitor how much red snapper our anglers harvest in real time. With this data, we can ensure our recreational fishery is fully accountable—we’re able to set a fishing season that allows our anglers to harvest their entire share of the catch but also close the season in time to prevent over harvest.”
Louisiana waters officially extended from three to nine miles offshore for reef fish management
Recently signed into law, the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act includes a provision to temporarily extend Louisiana state waters to nine nautical miles for fishery management purposes, an effort championed by LDWF Secretary Robert Barham during his tenure at the agency.
Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, added the provision to the Act to push state waters for reef fish management in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama (currently three miles) to nine miles to match the current state water boundaries of Florida and Texas. “We are grateful for the additional provision by Senator Shelby and the recognition by Congress of the nine-mile boundary the State of Louisiana has claimed since 2012,” said Secretary Barham. “Because the 2016 Omnibus Appropriation Act applies to the current federal fiscal year, the nine-mile extension is only temporary. However, Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) has proposed a more permanent solution through H.R. 3094; he and his bill have our agency’s full support.”
Secretary Barham worked hand in hand with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and Louisiana state legislators for years to ensure Louisiana’s fishing boundaries are equal with those of Texas and Florida. In 2011, Louisiana state legislators passed Act 336, recognizing that the Gulfward boundary of Louisiana’s state waters historically consisted of three marine leagues (9 nautical miles) and designating that boundary to be enforced by state law for the protection and restoration of coastal lands, waters and natural resources, and regulation of activities affecting them.
Following the direction of our state legislators and at the request of Secretary Barham, the Commission officially extended state waters from three miles offshore to nine miles offshore for fisheries management purposes and for the benefit of Louisiana fishermen. Secretary Barham said, “I was simply correcting an injustice. If our Florida and Texas neighbors fish a nine-mile state boundary, so should Louisiana fishermen. Unfortunately, it has taken over three years for action on this issue and that action is only temporary. I look forward to the day that all fishermen are treated equally across the Gulf of Mexico.”
Although this congressional action is only temporary, it is a step forward for Louisiana fishermen and is a direct result of Secretary Barham’s continued vigilance on this issue. “Louisiana fishermen will benefit from improved access and more flexible management of the reef fish fishery in the waters off Louisiana,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary of Fisheries Randy Pausina. “And without Secretary Barham’s initial leadership claiming a nine-mile state water boundary for our fishermen, this would not have gained the momentum it needed to be carried through Congress,” said Billy Broussard, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commissioner.
Recreational Offshore Landing Permit
LDWF reminds anglers and charter captains that they must have a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess certain species, including red snapper. They may obtain or renew the permit, free of charge at rolp.wlf.la.gov. Anglers and charter captains may renew their permits up to 30 days prior to expiration. They must have a valid Louisiana fishing license number to obtain a permit; they may use their confirmation number for a temporary (trip) permit.
Minors (under 16) are not required to obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit. Customers on a paid-for-hire charter trip also do not need this permit.