Feds Charging Anglers for Red Snapper Violations off Louisiana

No more warnings, say federal fisheries officials, for those it catches fishing illegally — even in waters declared legal by the state.

The waters of Louisiana between 3 and about 10 miles out have become a most unexpected battleground.

Louisiana anglers may be feeling like pawns in the ongoing policy war between federal (NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Coast Guard) and state governments.

That's because that stretch of prime rigs, reefs and wrecks so productive for red snapper is claimed both ways. The federal government has long claimed all waters off Louisiana from 3 miles out, but recently the state legislature declared ownership, at least for fisheries, out to three marine leagues (or about 10.4 miles).

Now the feds are replacing warnings with citations for fishing illegally in this zone, with the Coast Guard targeting six infractions over the weekend, according to** a report** on nola.com entitled "Federal fisheries officals say 'honeymoon over.'"

In fact, to be legal according to NOAA Fisheries, anglers should be fishing for snapper beyond 3 miles only from June 1 to June 9, which the agency has set as the total red snapper season for the entire year. (That nine-day season is the subject of a lawsuit filed jointly by Texas and Louisiana.)