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Extending Louisiana State Waters to 10 Miles Could Cost Mississippi Fishermen

By Rhonda Miller | Published 18 May 2012 06:54pm | comments
Tom Becker, President of the Mississippi Charter Boat Captains Association

Recreational fishing in Mississippi could be hurt by a proposed change in Louisiana state waters. MPB’s Rhonda Miller has more.

President of the Mississippi Charter Boat Captains Association Tom Becker is concerned that additional fees for Louisiana licenses would hurt business.

"A lot of guys may go get that license, $1,000 for the smaller boats, for the multi-passenger vessels it’s $2,000. They may go get that, get the state license. But the problem is getting everybody... you’re going out there and you find out the fish are over there towards the west, now I gotta get on the telephone and call somebody and get these people a license."

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is expected to consider, at its June meeting, whether to extend its state waters from three miles to 10 miles offshore. Mike Voisin is a member of the commission.

"The federal agreed limit in Texas and in Florida, I believe, are nine miles. In Louisiana and Mississippi, and I believe  Alabama, it’s three miles. So there have been plenty of debates over the years about why we’re so restricted and they’re not. This may heighten that debate and open it up again."

The debate may end up in court or in Congress. Meanwhile, some states are making their fishing seasons longer or raising the number of fish allowed to be caught.  All that attracts fishermen and brings in money.  

F.J. Eicke of the Coastal Conservation Association of Mississippi says the debate comes from frustration with federal regulations, like the two-fish limit on popular red snapper.

"I mean to have to spend, from a recreational standpoint, the amount of money you spend to get the red snapper, which is significant given the price of gas and the price of boats and all the other things, and be able to catch two fish per person, it creates a situation where people simply avoid going."

He says that cuts down on the millions of dollars recreational fishing brings in to Mississippi.



Tom Becker, President of the Mississippi Charter Boat Captains Association



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