With more than 9,000 square miles of lakes, rivers, and coastal areas, Louisiana has long been a popular destination for fishing. However, that popularity also comes with regulations intended to protect both state and coastal waters from overfishing.
On June 19, one cargo ship crew learned about these regulations the hard way when two Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists assigned to the Port of New Orleans found that they had reeled in more than 348 lbs. of red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the 2018 stock assessment of South Atlantic red snapper, red snapper was named as a protected species due to a history of being overfished. The red snapper is currently rebuilding its population in the Gulf of Mexico, a process that could take until 2032. Fishermen are limited to only two red snappers per licensed fisherman, and the snapper must be a minimum of 16 inches. Fishermen must also have a valid fishing permit for harvesting red snapper. Violating these regulations can result in heavy fines or even jail time.
The crew of the cargo ship has been charged with angling without a non-resident license, angling without a saltwater non-resident license, and possessing more than their limit of red snappers. The fish have been turned over to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
For more information on red snapper regulations and other federal fishing laws, visit the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov.