Louisiana Saltwater Series discontinued

LDWF cites costs in ending redfish tournament trail

The Louisiana Saltwater Series — a redfish tournament trail created in the wake of the BP oil spill — is being discontinued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, according to media reports.

Nola.com reported department leaders made the decision because hosting the tournaments was costly and didn’t benefit the agency.

“The effort provided no meaningful fisheries management data for the department,” Assistant Secretary Patrick Banks told the website.

The tournament trail — where anglers would compete to catch the two heaviest redfish measuring less than 27 inches — was started under former Secretary Robert Barham after the oil spill to encourage fishing and to learn more about migration patterns through the state’s tagging program.

More than 5,000 fish were tagged during the tournament’s run.

Budget figures indicate the Series cost the department between $30,000 to $50,000 annually, and Banks told Nola.com actual expenditures could have been even higher.

“Each series event required the participation of approximately eight LDWF staff, although the majority of this staff would not charge time to LASS,” he said. “These staff members charged time to larger projects of sport-fish tagging and general outreach, even though they were directly supporting the series.

“Therefore, it is difficult to determine exactly how much the series cost each year, and it is expected the true cost was significantly higher than $50,000.”

The discontinuation of the trail is likely permanent, Banks said.