Menhaden, also known as pogies, are a key food source for sportfish species like red drum, spotted seatrout and mackerel. As such, menhaden are a vital species in the marine food web and are critical to maintaining healthy populations of many other fish species in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly every predatory fish, marine mammal and bird eats them at some point in their life cycle.
Right now, these little fish need your help.
In the Gulf of Mexico, most menhaden are caught off Louisiana’s shores and at least one-third comes from within one mile from the coast. In nearly every other state, industrial menhaden fishing is prohibited offshore within one mile of state borders. This process of fishing is extremely disruptive to spawning sportfish and other sensitive water and land-based Louisiana species. The recreational fishing industry supports over $80 billion in sales each year and supports over 400,000 jobs. These numbers show that recreational fishing is very much an integral part of life in Louisiana’s ‘Sportsmen’s Paradise.’
A bill to protect these important fish is on the move in the Senate. Officially known as H.B. 1033, the bill would cap menhaden harvest in Louisiana, provide critical information on the harvest to Louisiana fisheries managers and allow for a basic level of protection for Louisiana’s coastal resources.
How you can help.
This week, H.B. 1033 will be considered by the Louisiana Senate Natural Resources Committee. The members of this committee need to hear from you.
Below are the email addresses for the members of the committee and a sample letter that you can send them. Feel free to personalize your email by telling these Senators how important menhaden are to your business.
Reports indicate there will be a vote on Thursday so don’t delay. Add your voice today.
Louisiana Senate Natural Resources Committee Contact Information
Chair Bob Hensgens – email@example.com
Vice Chair Mike Fesi – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Bret Allain – email@example.com
Sen. Pat Connick – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Sharon Hewitt – email@example.com
Sen. Eddie Lambert – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Fred Mills – email@example.com
As a member of the sportfishing industry, I am writing today to share my strong support for HB-1033 to provide additional regulations on the commercial menhaden fisheries, which is sponsored by Representative Joseph Orgeron and 13 additional representatives.
Every year, Daybrook and Omega, two menhaden reduction fishing companies take hundreds of millions of pounds of pogies and millions of pounds of bycatch from Louisiana waters. They often do this in very shallow near-shore areas, and have virtually no regulation. They do this without understanding the impacts that this size and style of harvest has on the Louisiana coast and coastal resources.
HB 1033 will bring common sense regulation to this industrialized style of fishing in Louisiana by requiring regular harvest reporting and establishing a reasonable catch limit in state waters. The bill does NOT limit their total Gulf catch, should not impact any jobs, and does not include shrimpers. Regulations like HB-1033 are meant to preserve Louisiana as Sportsman’s Paradise so that everyone can come and enjoy the coast.
I urge you to approve this important legislation.
Visit Keep America Fishing to learn more about the Menhaden issue.