December 14, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today that the season for recreational harvest of gray triggerfish will remain closed in Louisiana waters for all of the 2017 season.
The recreational season was originally scheduled to re-open on January 1, 2017, however the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries announced that accountability measures are being enacted which led to a closure of the entire 2017 season in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. They requested that Louisiana state waters also remain closed for that period.
NOAA Fisheries has estimated that the annual recreational adjusted annual catch limit of 201,223 pounds for the Gulf of Mexico in 2016 has been exceeded by 221,213 pounds. Federal accountability measures require a “payback” of previous season overharvest in the next fishing season for reef fish fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.
The 2017 recreational catch target had been set to be 217,100 pounds, which is less quota than the estimated overharvest during the 2016 season. The closure of the entire 2017 recreational season is necessary due to payback provisions to maintain rebuilding of gray triggerfish, which are considered overfished in the Gulf of Mexico.
LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in previously promulgated rules (LAC 76.VII.335.G.5) to change or modify the opening and closing dates for any recreational reef fish season in Louisiana waters when notified of a modification to a season by NOAA Fisheries.
For more information, contact Jason Adriance at (504) 284-2032 or jadriance @wlf.la.gov.