Today, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed H.B. 535 by Rep. Orgeron by a vote of 68 to 29. Today’s action is a historic step forward to protect our surf zone in a common-sense way. The bill ensures our fragile coastal ecosystem can thrive while supporting both our recreational and commercial fisheries. Halle Parker of the Times-Picayune summarizes the action below.
if House Bill 535 becomes law, Louisiana would forbid menhaden trawling within a half mile of shore, to reduce coastal erosion and limit damage to shallow nurseries of popular game fish species such as redfish and speckled trout. The bill now goes to the Senate. (Here’s how the House voted.)
Menhaden, also known as pogies or shad, are a keystone species in marine ecosystems, providing food for a wide range of larger fish and birds. When caught commercially, the oil-rich fish is ground up into animal feed, health supplements and fertilizers.
The effort to create an exclusion zone for menhaden boats off Louisiana’s coast has gained steam over the past two years, as complaints from recreational fishers have grown. Bloated, floating bodies of dead reds and specks left behind by commercial fishing vessels seem to have increased in volume and proximity to shore in recent years, exclusion zone advocates Chris Macaluso and David Cresson said.
To read more, visit nola.com.