Baton Rouge, LA – The Louisiana chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) conducted polling recently after lawmakers debated creating a buffer zone to protect the coastal ecosystem after last year’s proposal was voted down by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. The polling revealed overwhelming support from Louisiana’s coastal communities to protect the state’s beaches, shorelines, and marine wildlife from potential damage by large industrial menhaden (pogie) fishing boats.
CCA polled residents in nine Louisiana parishes along the Gulf Coast, including Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Mary, Terrebonne, and Vermilion. In these areas, community members strongly favored a buffer zone to protect the coastal ecosystem.
The poll found the following:
- 84% of respondents say that Louisiana’s beaches and shorelines should be protected from potential damage from large industrial menhaden fishing boats
- 87% of respondents say the government should examine the impact of industrial fishing on the food supply for local wildlife
- 89% support limits on industrial fishing in state waters
- 93% support the management of industrial fishing that does not negatively affect commercial fishing jobs.
These survey results are critical, as the House Natural Resource Committee will be considering H.B. 535 on Wednesday next week. The bill, introduced by Louisiana State Representative Joe Orgeron, will provide a much-needed half-mile protective zone across the entire coast of Louisiana, to protect the surf zone from industrial menhaden fishing, where many of our fish species and iconic Louisiana wildlife spawn, nest, and feed.
“Louisiana coastal communities clearly agree that Louisiana’s beaches, shorelines, and barrier islands should be protected from potential damage from large industrial menhaden fishing boats,” said David Cresson, Executive Director of the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana. “This poll shows that they want to ensure Louisiana regulates industrial fishing in the surf zone in a common sense and reasonable way that supports wildlife, as well as recreational and commercial fishing for the future.”
“Results from this poll are encouraging. They demonstrate Louisiana coastal communities support creating a buffer zone from industrial pogie fishing in Louisiana waters to protect our state’s beaches and newly-restored barrier islands,” said Chris Macaluso, the Center for Marine Fisheries director, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Louisiana is the only Gulf state with no geographic buffer zone to protect sensitive surf zones and no catch limits on pogies. H.B. 535 will help Louisianans take a step forward in protecting Louisiana fish, wildlife, and habitats while also supporting recreational fishing, which supports more than $3.1 billion in economic activity, nearly 24,000 jobs, and $180.7 million in state and local tax revenues.”
About CCA Louisiana
In its 38th year, CCA Louisiana is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the state. With more than 30,000 members and volunteers in 30 local chapters, CCA has been active in the state, national, and international fisheries management issues since 1977. Visit www.CCALouisiana.com for more information.