In an effort to better monitor the recreational catch of red snapper during the “Louisiana-only” season, LDWF biologists will be conducting creel surveys, specific to red snapper, beginning this Saturday, March 23. Anglers may also see an increased presence of LDWF biologists at their local boat ramp, conducting dockside interviews.
These surveys will be separate from the federally sponsored Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) surveys that anglers may have been a part of in the past. These surveys will be short and aimed at better assessing the number of red snapper landed in Louisiana.
In addition to dockside interviews, LDWF will be contacting a random portion of non-charter Louisiana Recreational Offshore Permit holders every Tuesday by phone, following the Friday, Saturday and Sunday red snapper season (on Wednesdays following Monday holidays). LDWF will ask five simple questions of permit holders; 1) Did you fish offshore, which is beyond the beach or rocks, last Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? 2) How many of these offshore trips did you take last Friday, Saturday or Sunday? 3) How many of these trips were paid charter trips?. 4) Did you land your fish at a site that is open to the general public? 5) Did you land your fish between 2 p.m. and sunset?
The randomly selected group of non-charter permit holders will be notified by e-mail (from the account RedSnapperSurvey@scpdc.org each Wednesday before the weekend season as to their selection. Those selected permit holders will have the option to answer all five questions, by reply e-mail, prior to noon on the Tuesday following the weekend season to avoid receiving a phone call. These e-mails will also be sent by the South Central Planning and Development Commission on behalf of LDWF.
Charter captains holding a Louisiana Recreational Offshore Landing Permit will also be contacted by LDWF weekly to collect information on the number of trips and the total number of red snapper caught during the Friday, Saturday and Sunday season. Charter captains will have the option to respond electronically prior to a biologist contacting them on the phone.
“As our department moves forward with unprecedented actions, to protect the rights of Louisiana anglers, we hope to have the support of the fishing community as we work diligently to capture more data about our recreational red snapper fishery,” commented LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “This is a critical piece of the puzzle as the state of Louisiana continues to build our case toward regional management.”
LDWF also takes this opportunity to remind anglers of the required free Louisiana Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess red snapper in Louisiana. This permit was designed to gather more accurate information on recreational and charter anglers that annually fish beyond Louisiana’s territorial waters and to produce more accurate data regarding participation in Louisiana’s offshore recreational fisheries.
The free Louisiana Recreational Offshore Landing Permit may be obtained by visiting www.wlf.la.gov/rolp.
For-hire vessels are also reminded that if federal regulations for Gulf reef fish are more restrictive than state regulations, a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat for which a federal charter/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must comply with federal regulations regardless of where the fish are harvested. Therefore, during the time federal waters are closed, vessels with a federal charter/headboat permit may not harvest or possess red snapper in state waters.
Logo courtesy Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries