Following a legislative oversight hearing in November where legislators rejected a recent Notice of Intent (NOI), the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) amended that Notice of Intent (NOI) to propose the red drum size limit be adjusted to an 18 to 27-inch slot size limit. The Commission chose to maintain the original proposal of three fish per day.
Additionally, the retention of any red drum above the maximum size limit of 27 inches total length and the retention of red drum by captain and crew on charter or head boats while on a for-hire trip will be prohibited.
Charter captains and crew will still be allowed to engage in fishing on charter trips to demonstrate how to catch red drum, but will not be allowed to retain red drum towards any limit on the vessel.
The current regulations allow 5 red drum between 16 and 27 inches with one fish over 27 inches.
The proposed changes result from biological data that indicate the red drum stock is experiencing overfishing resulting in an escapement rate below the 30 percent minimum limit, leading to a declining biomass. In order to increase the escapement rate, help the population return to stable reproductive levels, and avoid the stock biomass declining to an overfished condition, management changes are necessary. For more information on the status of Red Drum please see the Department Red Drum webpage: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/hot-topic-red-drum.
A one-time public hearing on proposed substantive changes will be held by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on January 22, 2024 at 10 a.m. in the Joe L. Herring Louisiana Room of the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA, 70808. Interested persons are invited to attend and submit oral comments on the proposed amendments.
Amending of a Notice of Intent (NOI) is one of many steps in promulgating a final Rule, which can take between 90 days and one year. Once an amended NOI is adopted, the NOI will be published in the State Register and a one-time public hearing date is set (see above). The Commission will consider all public comments received at the public comment hearing. Absent any further amendments to the NOI by the Commission, the proposed Rule will be sent to Legislative Oversight for review. Upon expiration of a 30-day oversight period, or upon a favorable review by the Oversight Committees, the Rule can be published as final in the State Register.
To view the amended NOI and the original NOI visit: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/resources/category/commission-action-items