Louisiana To Initiate Free Tuna Permit

Louisiana To Initiate Free Tuna Permit

It's looking more and more likely that recreational anglers in the state of Louisiana will be able to get a free permit to fish for yellowfin tuna in the near future.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a notice of intent for establishing the free permit, primarily as a way to gather information about who fishes off Louisiana's coast for yellowfin and how much is harvested each year.

?The current system is based upon data that is often old by the time it is in use,? said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. ?In order to better understand our fisheries resources so that we may better enjoy them, we need to collect information about how and what our anglers are fishing for in waters off Louisiana?s coast.?

According to LDWF officials, the free permits will be designed with user input to make it as easy as possible for both recreational anglers and charter fishing boats to report their trips and their catch.

Currently, only anglers who fish for bluefin tuna are required to report what they catch (the limit is currently set at one fish per vessel per year).

?We are designing this permit to be flexible, so that anglers aren?t frustrated by the process,? Pausina said. ?Ultimately, the information gathered could mean anglers would have more opportunities to fish for highly migratory species like yellowfin tuna.?

The current management of yellowfin tuna involves not only LDWF, but also the federal government and international treaty agreements.

?The Gulf of Mexico is an absolutely incredible place to go fishing,? Pausina added. ?We want to keep it that way by moving from a one-size-fits-all management style to one that allows us real-time data on these fish and on the efforts by recreational anglers.?

Public comments on the Notice of Intent will be accepted until Thursday, February 2, 2012. Comments may be submitted to Joey Shepard, Office of Fisheries, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via e-mail at jshepard@wlf.la.gov.

For more news on fishing regulations, click here.

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