My father had a simple rule when I was growing up: When he gave instructions, he didn’t repeat himself – without some physical reinforcement that made it uncomfortable to sit down. It seems those making decisions at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are in need of some of my good old dad’s style of education.
After the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission clearly told agency leaders in July that all recreational fishing in state waters should remain open in the absence of heavy oiling or clear scientific evidence of a consumption danger to the public, the agency this weekend closed waters that have been open for a month.
Has more oil rolled onto into the Louisiana coast? LDWF officials haven’t said so.
Then certainly tests must have shown there is a danger from eating seafood from these areas, right? Absolutely not. In fact, exhaustive testing has clearly shown that all Louisiana seafood is safe to eat.
So why would LDWF officials willfully disobey the panel charged by state law with their oversight?
According to LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina, the reason is simple: His agency had a deal with the Food and Drug Administration that prohibited reopenings and closures without federal approval.
This agreement apparently was made before Commission members provided clear directions on how LDWF officials should handle recreational closures, and it gives federal officials the power to make decisions when it comes to recreational fishing in state waters.
Certainly, the federal government should have no say-so over what happens in state waters – at least on the recreational side of things. Nowhere in the Constitution is that power granted to any federal authority.
Frankly, why this federal agency would want to shut down any Louisiana fishery without any science to back it up is a mystery. A greater mystery is why our own state officials would go along with such arbitrary demands.
It is mind boggling that our state officials would choose to bow to feds with absolutely no business interfering with state recreational fishing management instead of listening to those who are supposed to pull the strings.
My father would never have put up with that disrespect, and our commissioners shouldn’t either. They should call a special meeting, and override these new closures.
We think it’s time to take the LDWF to the woodshed – and make it crystal clear who’s in charge.