LDWF stock assessment: Speckled trout not overfished

Department releases multiple species’ assessments previously withheld because of Deepwater Horizon litigation

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on Tuesday released long-awaited stock assessments on several species — including speckled trout — that were being withheld because of ongoing litigation from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The 2014 trout assessment indicates that while the recreational harvest has increased substantially – more than 7 million pounds per year during the last decade – the state’s stock is neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing, although overfishing has occurred in the past.

Some anglers have questioned whether Louisiana’s continued loss of coastal marsh — along with increasing recreational fishing pressure and relatively high daily limits — could be negatively impacting the fish’s population.

Patrick Banks, assistant secretary in the Office of Fisheries, did not return a phone call for comment on the trout assessment Tuesday afternoon before this story was published.

In addition to specks, LDWF also released the latest assessments on blue crab, striped mullet, black drum, Southern flounder, sheepshead and oysters.

The blue crab stock was noted as being overharvested, and proposed harvest restrictions are already being considered by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission for 2017-2019.

A list of all recent stock assessments from the LDWF can be accessed here.

In April, the settlement between the United States, the five Gulf states and BP was approved in court, allowing for the release of the information.