Gov. Edwards, LDWF, La. Veterans Affairs, CCA partner to offer wounded, disabled vets special red snapper fishing opportunity
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) are teaming up to promote a special red snapper season for wounded and disabled military veterans to catch the remaining recreational red snapper allotment for the state.
The recreational red snapper season closed Aug. 12 in Louisiana when estimates showed that anglers were within 5,911 pounds of reaching the state self-imposed 743,000-pound limit of red snapper for recreational fishing. The remaining quota will be available to be caught before December 31.
The fishing opportunity will be through permit only and is limited to state waters out to nine nautical miles from shore.
“We can never do enough to thank our veterans for their service to our country, but we’ll always try. I think our veterans will enjoy having the chance to catch the popular red snapper,” said Gov. Edwards a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. “I am proud to work with LDWF and LDVA on this joint effort. I hope our wounded veterans, who sacrificed so much for our country, will have a great time on their fishing trips. They deserve it, and it is a great way to ensure we catch our full allotment of red snapper in 2018.”
LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said the governor was quick to support the opportunity for the wounded military veterans. “He said, ‘Let’s make it happen,’” Montoucet said.
“Our anglers did such a great job helping our agency manage the red snapper catch numbers earlier this year, that now we are in a position to do something good for our wounded veterans. I could not be happier,” said Montoucet, a U.S. Marine veteran. “With less than 6,000 pounds of red snapper quota left over after the regular fishing season, it was not enough to reopen the season even for one day to the entire recreational fishing community. This opportunity allows veterans to help us fully reach our 2018 red snapper fishing quota.”
LDVA Secretary Joey Strickland said he wholeheartedly supports the fishing opportunity.
“Healing through nature and activities in the outdoors, like fishing, has been proven to be beneficial to Veterans,” he said. “We are grateful to Governor John Bel Edwards for his continued support of Louisiana’s Veterans and to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for giving the men and women who’ve served our country an opportunity for camaraderie and relaxation through these fishing opportunities.”
Deron Santiny, with the Wounded War Heroes organization, echoed Strickland’s comments.
“Thank you for allowing the Wounded War Heroes to be a part of this event. It really means a lot,” said Santiny, who is also a commissioner of the Office of Veterans Affairs. “I know I speak for all of them in saying that you have no idea how much this means to us.”
Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana has committed to support the effort by recruiting volunteer CCA captains to take wounded veterans fishing.
“This is a very unique opportunity to give back to heroes who have given so much for us,” said CCA Louisiana CEO David Cresson. “CCA is proud to support this effort, and encourages all of our members to donate their boats and their time to take a wounded veteran fishing.”
The final catch numbers are based on the state’s Louisiana Recreational Creel Survey (LA Creel) which uses a combination of data gathered through interviews at public fishing areas and weekly phone and email surveys to produce its estimates of the fish catch.
Over the next several days, LDWF staff will develop a special permit, update the electronic reporting app and provide instructions for the veterans about how to track the catch, department officials said.
All of the permits and other identifying information should be complete in time for the veterans to fish for the red snapper beginning Saturday, Nov. 17. The special fishing opportunity will end no later than Dec. 31, or when the remaining red snapper quota is caught.
Anyone wishing to assist with this special opportunity for veterans can contact Collette Foret with the Wounded War Heroes organization via email at email@example.com . Please include the words “Red Snapper” in the subject line of the email.