December 4, 2023

LDWF Commission Aims to Push Commercial Menhaden Boats 1-Mile Off Louisiana Beaches

Article Contact: Mark Lance,

Why It Matters: Menhaden are a critical part of the coastal ecosystem serving as an important forage food for many recreationally important species such as redfish, speckled trout, and others. In recent months, there have been several confirmed instances of net spills by commercial menhaden vessels. These spills resulted in the wasting of approximately 850,000 menhaden as well as hundreds of redfish, many of which washed onto shore.


  • During their October meeting, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Commission (Commission) voted to approve a Notice of Intent (NOI) to amend rules regarding the commercial menhaden harvest buffer zone and net spill reporting.
  • The NOI extends the coastal buffer zone for the commercial harvest of menhaden from ¼ mile to 1-mile off the coast and three miles from the area between Holly Beach and Rutherford Beach in southwestern Louisiana.
  • The NOI also establishes a 48-hour period for retrieving any menhaden or bycatch that is unintentionally or intentionally released and requires reporting of spills within 2 hours of occurring.

Menhaden have been a hot topic among the recreational fishing community in Louisiana over the past several years. Last year, the Commission voted to implement a ¼ mile buffer after the recreational fishing community continually expressed concerns about the proximity of menhaden boats to shore and the subsequent large amounts of bycatch and damage to fragile coastlines. Additionally, in 2021, Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Joe Orgeron introduced legislation that would have established a ½ mile commercial menhaden harvest exclusion zone.

Ensuring the sustainability of the fishery off Louisiana’s coast is incredibly important due to the millions of dollars that are generated for conservation by the recreational fishing community through the “user pays – public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding.

The NOI is open for public comment through January 4, 2024. Comments should be submitted to LDWF’s Jason Adriance at

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) will continue to work alongside our in-state and national conservation partners, the LDWF, and the Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to ensure the sustainability of the fishery off the Louisiana coast and the plentiful recreational fishing opportunities that it provides.

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