Editorial: Time for action to reverse fishing closures is now

Internet forums have become the modern-day town square, providing easy outlets through which to express opinions. Unfortunately, the anonymous nature of forum aliases mutes those voices, and those elected or appointed to represent us simply ignore complaints from these venues.

So it’s time LouisianaSportsman.com users step from behind the façade of aliases, and demand their right to catch the fish of this state’s coastal waters be renewed when the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meets at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

There’s no doubt this is a difficult time, with oil from the wrecked BP Deepwater Horizon gushing from the seafloor demanding action and forcing difficult decisions. There’s also little doubt that the draconian measures currently being taken by Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries officials threatens to wreck the very sport we all love.

Does the thought of watching Louisiana’s recreational fishing industry disappear upset you? We certainly hope so, but it’s not enough to simply sit behind your computer and vent on the forum.

What is needed is a mass display of public dissatisfaction, so we call on our users to show up en masse Thursday at the LDWF headquarters building at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge and pack the conference room to demand to be heard.

Remember: You are LDWF’s constituency. Every employee, including Secretary Robert Barham, works for you. Each of the seven commission members works for you.

And that means you, and only you, have the power to force change. When public officials are faced with overwhelming public outrage over the decisions being made, they listen.

If you don’t believe that, just look back at the redfish wars of the 1980s. A betting man wouldn’t have put a penny on the chances that recreational anglers would prevail against the traditionally unbeatable commercial fishermen.

But redfish have been recreational gamefish since 1988 because recreationals banded together to demand change.

Showing that kind of force requires commitment. For most of us, it probably means taking time off of work. But none of us would bat an eye at taking time off of work to hit the water and catch a limit of reds and specks.

We challenge you to show the same devotion to the effort to saving our sport from well-meaning but off-target public officials.

“I think it’s time for us to overwhelm LDWF with complaints about the fishing closure,” Valvguy1 posted yesterday. “My outrage, to this point, has been for BP and the Federal response. It has become apparent to me, however, that (Louisiana) Government and LDWF have GOT TO BE hammered on this point.”

Valvguy1, along with a growing list of users, has committed to be at Thursday’s meeting.

Will you join us?

Andy Crawford
About Andy Crawford 870 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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