Two of Louisiana’s three seats on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council — one recreational and one commercial — are coming up for renomination by Gov. John Bel Edwards this year, and the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana is closely monitoring who will ultimately be appointed to represent the state's rec sector.
Currently, Camp Matens occupies the recreational seat, and CCA Louisiana’s executive director said late last week having Matens back to serve his third and final three-year term on the Council would be a great outcome.
“Over his six years, without fail, Camp has represented what’s best for Louisiana anglers and our charter fleet and our fisheries,” David Cresson said. “He stood up for what’s right for Louisiana in every single case, and it’s made him an exceptionally effective Council member in terms of Louisiana’s recreational sector.”
But a March 5 letter to the governor from Cresson indicates Edwards has reservations about renominating Matens to the seat. In that same letter, Cresson submitted five additional names for consideration:
Ed Landgraf of Hammond
John Dugas of Lafayette
Charles Caplinger of Slidell
Marc Mouton of Lafayette
Billy Broussard of Pecan Island
In a previous letter dated Feb. 14 to the governor, Cresson submitted four other potential candidates that have the support of CCA Louisiana:
Rep. Jerome Zeringue of Houma
George Huye of Baton Rouge
Patrick Fitzmorris of Madisonville
Robert Allain of Jeanerette
“We’ve given the governor 10 exceptional names. They’re all avid fishermen, with experience and knowledge and skill sets that would make them extremely successful at the Council,” Cresson told LouisianaSportsman.com. “Something else that’s really important to note is they all have the ability to handle the rigors of the Council schedule. The Council meets five times a year, three days per meeting. So it’s a big-time commitment to serve — you don’t just need somebody who’s smart and qualified, you also need somebody who can commit the time to the job.
“There are important votes at every single meeting, so it’s not really an option for a representative to miss meetings.”
The governor will submit his final list of candidates to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with the final decision on who fills the seat coming from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Cresson said.
Cresson said he appreciated that CCA has been invited to provide input to the governor as he considers who to nominate for the recreational seat.
“We were invited by the governor’s staff to review some of the names on his working list, and we gave honest feedback both positive and negative on those names, and we appreciate the opportunity to do that,” he said. “But the fact remains that the 10 names CCA Louisiana has recommended would each be exceptional representatives of our recreational sector.”
It's unclear exactly when Edwards will reveal his short list of nominees to fill the two seats. Matthew Block, executive counsel for the governor, had not responded to a voicemail message left with his assistant on Friday when this story was published.
The commercial sector seat is currently held by Ed Swindell. Louisiana’s third representative on the Council is Patrick Banks, the assistant secretary of fisheries for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.