The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has adopted a Notice of Intent (NOI) to add coastal buffer zones to Gulf menhaden harvest regulations.
The proposed changes would modify the existing rule regarding where in Louisiana waters commercial harvest of gulf menhaden may occur. The proposed changes would implement a coastwide buffer from the established inside-outside line (the line that separates Louisiana’s inshore waters from offshore waters) of ¼ mile, including the waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds, with certain exceptions. The area beginning at the eastern shore of Belle Pass to the eastern shore of Caminada Pass would require a 1-mile buffer, the area from the eastern shore of Caminada Pass to the eastern shore of Barataria Pass would require a 3-mile buffer, and the area from the eastern shore of Barataria Pass to the eastern end of Grand Terre Island would require a 1-mile buffer.
This NOI was brought forward due to user conflicts between private recreational and charter boat anglers and the commercial menhaden fishery. The Gulf of Mexico stock of menhaden is not overfished and is not undergoing overfishing. Scientific studies have estimated the amount of bycatch of recreationally important species such as red drum and spotted seatrout are minimal, irrespective of the status of those populations.
Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed rule to Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email to [email protected] before Thursday, December 2, 2021.