Going Coastally Crazy
Coastal Fisheries, Coastal Restoration, and Coastal Day at the Capitol
Matt releasing a tagged redfish at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.
Recreational fishing is a popular pastime in Louisiana, annually attracting thousands of tourists and locals. However, habitat degradation and loss of critical wetlands, estuaries and marshes is making it more challenging for recreational fishermen to catch two of our favorite species – the speckled sea trout and red drum.
Louisiana’s coastal wetlands serve as critical nursery habitats for many species of juvenile fish by providing shelter, food and breeding grounds. Without this habitat, the number of juveniles reaching adulthood has decreased, which presents a challenge for recreational fishermen, too. In addition to Louisiana’s land loss crisis, other natural disasters like hurricanes and the catastrophic 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill have caused significant, increased damage to habitats once considered suitable for the propagation of a healthy speckled trout and red drum fishery. While some recovery has happened, long-term effects on these fish populations from the oil spill and recent storms remain undetermined.
Restoring and protecting Louisiana’s coastal habitats are essential to the longevity of our Sportsmen’s Paradise – and to ensure generations to come can enjoy the fishing here.
This shoreline stabilization project at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge provides protection from coastal land loss and calmer waters for wading shorebirds and feeding fish.
Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan: Combating Coastal Land Loss in Sportsmen’s Paradise
One major way Louisiana is working to address ongoing coastal land loss is through its 2023 Coastal Master Plan. One key component of the Coastal Master Plan concerning fish habitat is the restoration of wetlands, estuaries, and marshes, which provide critical habitat for various fish species, including redfish, speckled trout, and flounder. By restoring and protecting our coastal habitats, we are ensuring the long-term viability of our coastal communities and the commercial and recreational fishing industries which depend on them. All in all, the state of Louisiana needs to recognize the importance of creating and maintaining suitable fish habitat and the role it plays in a healthy, sustainable coastal ecosystem. This ensures that recreational fishing will remain a viable and enjoyable activity for years to come.
Join me for Coastal Day at the Capitol
As a sportsman in Louisiana, I am deeply concerned about the decline of our gamefish species. Habitat loss is a significant threat to the long-term viability of these species, and urgent action is needed to address these issues. Coastal restoration is critical to preserving the habitats essential to these fish's survival and reproduction, and I fully support efforts to restore and protect our coastal ecosystems. I recognize the importance of responsible stewardship of our natural resources to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the thrill of fishing in Louisiana's beautiful and bountiful waters.
I’ll be sharing more with many of our elected officials during this year’s Coastal Day at the Louisiana Capitol building. If you’re interested in attending, please email me at WaguespackM@nwf.org.