Nothing wraps up a long day on the water better than the smell of fish sizzling on the grill, but not all anglers prefer to cook their own catch. So why not leave it to the professionals? A new proposal in Louisiana will allow anglers to hand over their hard-fought catches to their favorite restaurants and chefs to cook. According to the Daily Comet, the fish must be cleaned and processed by anglers beforehand, and can only be served to the fishing party that caught the fish. The proposal is expected to go under review by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission later this week.
“Catch and cook” programs have been popular elsewhere, such as in Michigan where state agencies and local associations teamed up to usher in the program in 2012. By giving anglers the option to enjoy their fish prepared at a restaurant or fishing lodge, the program benefited local economies and boosted tourism. Fishing charters also favored the program, and the Michigan Charter Boat Association was one of the main backers of the state’s catch and cook initiative.
“It’s a win situation for everybody,” charter captain Denny Grinold told MLive.com back in 2012. “It’s great for charter boats because it enhances the customer’s experience, it’ll create more repeat business. It’s also great for the restaurants.”
How does Michigan’s program work? Take a gander at this inside look by OutdoorHub below:
Louisiana’s charter industry, however, is eyeing the state’s new proposal with a bit of trepidation. This is because of the strict guidelines that come with the Bayou State’s program, and many fishing lodges that already serve fish to their clients say that the rule will actually prohibit them from cooking fish. For example, fish received from anglers in Louisiana have to not only be cleaned and processed, but also placed in food-grade, single-serve packaging.
Daryl Carpenter, a charter captain with the Louisiana Charter Boat Association, told The Times-Picayune that such regulations are difficult for fishing lodges that receive a high number of fillets every day.
“We’ll sometimes have a party of six (fishermen),” he said. “We simply do not have the ability to pack their fish in food-safe packaging in individual serving sizes.”
Charter captains said they will be meeting with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Bret Allain (R-Franklin), to address these issues.