A bill that would raise saltwater license fees by 136 percent breezed through the Louisiana Senate’s Natural Resources Committee on Thursday and now heads to the full Senate for final consideration, according to the bill’s author.
Rep. Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette) said it passed through the eight-member committee without any questions.
“I don’t think there’s really any opposition,” Bishop said. “Once everybody looked at what it was going to do and what the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would be doing with the money, everybody was okay with it.”
The bill, which is supported by Coastal Conservation Association Louisiana, would raise saltwater license fees for residents from $5.50 to $13 and create a Saltwater Fish Research and Conservation Fund that could be used by the state for the LA Creel program.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the LA Creel program will allow department biologists to collect more precise recreational harvest data and better manage the state’s fisheries.
The bill includes a 4-year sunset provision which will allow legislators the opportunity to review the program’s progress in four years and determine if the increase will remain, and will not affect residents who turned 60 before June 1, 2000.
Bishop said he expected the bill to be heard on the Senate floor sometime next week.