Louisiana’s leading marine biologists have done their job in an effort to determine the status of speckled trout along the state’s coast and near-offshore waters.

Now it’s our turn to speak up about the change options presented by those state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries professionals in conjunction with a stock assessment that took months to complete in 2019. Speckled trout have been and are being overfished, the marine biologists reported, and their opinion is that a 20 percent reduction in harvest is required to recover the stock before 2025.

Teche Area saltwater anglers probably would agree with them that speckled trout numbers are down, based on the past few years in and around Vermilion Bay. It’s their time to speak up.

What are the recovery options? 

• Creel limit changes only.

• Size limit changes only (including slot limits).

• Any combination of creel and size limit changes.

• Alternative: Fishery closures.

• Supplemental: Special regulations following significant freeze event.

The LDWF has scheduled dates for public meetings across the state, including Lafayette and Gray, to hear public input before considering management changes. The department points out that no action is being taken now.

LDWF is partnering with Louisiana Sea Grant to use interactive voting technology at these public hearing in response to a survey that will be available at the meetings. The state agency also will sent out an email survey.

The dates and sites are:

• Monday, Feb. 10, North Branch Library, 4130 West Park Ave., Gray.

• Wednesday, Feb. 12, LDWF HQ, Herring Room, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge.

• Thursday, Feb. 13, Lafayette Council Chambers, 705 W. University Ave., Lafayette.

• Wednesday, Feb. 19, East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie.

• Thursday, Feb. 20, Slidell Municipal Auditorium, 2056 Second Street, Slidell.

• Wednesday, Feb. 26, Epps Memorial Library, 1320 N. Simmons St., Lake Charles.

• Thursday, Feb. 27, Rapides Parish Extension Office, 300 Grady Britt Drive, Alexandria.

• Saturday, Feb. 29, Lincoln Parish Library, 910 N. Trenton St., Ruston.

All but the public meeting in Ruston are scheduled to start at 5 p.m. The Ruston event is at 1 p.m.

To help shape your opinion on management change options being considered, LDWF officials urge outdoorsmen to review the report. The Assessment of Spotted Seatrout in Louisiana Waters, which is more than 70 pages, can be viewed at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/page/37756-stock-assessments/2019louisianaspottedseatroutassessment.pdf. 


DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.

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