Leading up to the Governor’s election, CCA Louisiana sent a list of questions to the major candidates. These are critical issues to our members and to anglers in Louisiana. Each question asked for a Yes or No response, with an opportunity for candidates to include additional comments. We included some brief background on each issue.
Here are the responses to question #4 regarding artificial reefs. The answers are shown exactly as they were submitted to CCA and are listed in the order they were received from the candidates.
TOPIC 4: ARTIFICIAL REEFS
Louisiana has a successful and growing artificial reef program consisting of inshore, nearshore and offshore projects. The nearshore program produces oyster-style reefs in shallow waters, designed to restore lost oyster and fisheries habitat. The nearshore program has identified locations where oil and gas structures have been removed and works to replace that lost habitat with artificial reefs. The offshore “Rigs to Reef” program allows decommissioned offshore platforms in deep waters to be repurposed into artificial reefs in permitted sites. LDWF and partners like CCA have worked together to build many of these projects with funding from Louisiana’s Artificial Reef Trust Fund.
QUESTION: As Governor, will you support Louisiana’s Artificial Reef Program and pledge to protect the Artificial Reef Trust Fund?
YES. This is a wonderful program in Louisiana that brings together industry, recreational anglers and conservationists. I will protect these funds and commit to dedicating these resources solely to the intended purposes.
Stephen Waguespack (R)
The Rigs to Reef program is not only effective in providing habitat for the fishery in the Gulf, but efficient in preventing wasteful disposal of the abandoned structures. It is good for the fish, good for the environment, and good for business. As Governor, I will fully support both the Program itself and protection of the Artificial Reef Trust Fund to assist in implementing it. And I will expand these programs.
Jeff Landry (R)
YES. Supporting Louisiana’s Artificial Reef Program is a necessary and critical step to maintaining marine habitat. More importantly, past gimmicks in the State budgeting process have exposed the Artificial Reef Trust Fund to sweeps. As Governor, I firmly commit to a balanced budget approach that maintains the integrity of our valued assets.
Shawn Wilson (D)
John Schroder (R)
YES. Louisiana’s artificial reef program has been successful in restoring lost habitat and supporting fisheries. As Governor, I will wholeheartedly support Louisiana’s Artificial Reef Program and pledge to protect the Artificial Reef Trust Fund. These initiatives have proven to be effective in creating oyster and fisheries habitat, replacing lost habitat from oil and gas structure removal, and repurposing decommissioned offshore platforms into artificial reefs. Collaborative efforts between LDWF, organizations like CCA, and funding from the Artificial Reef Trust Fund have been instrumental in the program’s success, and I will ensure its continued support and growth.
Sharon Hewitt (R)
Hunter Lundy (I)
NOTE: Answers no longer reflect those of Rep. Richard Nelson who announced his withdrawal from the Louisiana governor’s race on Sept. 20th