LWFC adopts Notice-of-Intent (NOI) for New Menhaden Regulations
Eugene L. 10.14.22
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted a new Notice of Intent (NOI) to prohibit the waste of fishery resources. This new NOI is specifically about menhaden and the abandonment of menhaden fishing gear, such as purse seine gear, during commercial fishing operations.
The Proposed Rule:
- Prohibit abandoning menhaden purse seine gear during the course of fishing operations or while on the water and establish a 48-hour window to remove all gear before it is considered abandoned.
- Establishes marking requirements for gear that is released to facilitate retrieval and warn of navigational hazards by the released gear.
- Would require notification to LDWF within 2 hours of any release of menhaden.
- Requires that all reasonable attempts be made to retrieve menhaden and bycatch from the environment in the event of a release.
- Defines that a violation of these rules shall be considered a waste of a fishery resource subject to civil fine and restitution and abandonment of gear shall constitute a commercial littering violation.
This new Notice of Intent by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission seems to be in response to a recent menhaden net abandonment by Omega Protein that occurred in Cameron Parish last month. This net was loaded with 500,000lbs of menhaden and untold amounts of bycatch such as redfish, speckled trout, and other game fish. Though this could just be coincidental due to the fact many separate groups have rallied against these large commercial operations that pull in up to 1 billion pounds of these fish out of the Gulf of Mexico every year.
For any interested persons, you can submit comments on these proposed new rules to Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email to [email protected]. These comments must be submitted before noon of January 5th, 2023. You can see the full Notice of Intent here.