Louisiana Legislature Says Red Snapper Pilot Program Should Not be Approved

The state’s House and Senate vote overwhelmingly to support a resolution that urges the program giving 25,000 pounds of snapper to 150 anglers not go forward.

Gulf of Mexico red snapper
Nuisance fish: Louisiana and other Gulf state anglers have just three days this year when they can legally keep red snapper in federal waters, even though the species has become so abundant it's widely considered a nuisance.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

About a week after the Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife announced its plan to award 25,000 pounds of red snapper to a lucky 150 anglers, the Louisiana legislature on Friday (June 2) expressed solid opposition to the plan.

On a resolution requesting the study not move forward, the state House voted 85 to 6 in favor, and the state Senate voted 29-0.

The state’s Exempted Fishing Permit Application plan would allow the 150 randomly selected anglers to catch their equal share of snapper (about 20 snapper to each) wherever and whenever they wished to do so.

All other anglers would still have a total of three days to fish for red snapper in federal waters, a species that has become so abundant as to be considered a nuisance.

The state’s snapper pilot program has been strongly denounced by anglers’ groups such as the Coastal Conservation Association, American Sportfishing Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and others. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will consider the program and make a recommendation later this month, but ultimately it will be up to federal fishery managers to determine if the plan can go forward.

While the state’s resolution is symbolic, those who oppose the program have said it should be given weight as an indication of how out of touch the Louisiana DFW is with its constituents.