The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a notice of intent (NOI) to reduce the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) alligator hide tag fee from $4 to $3 for the 2020 and 2021 calendar years during its August meeting Thursday (Aug. 1) in New Orleans.
The reduction, approved by the Commission at its Aug.1 meeting in New Orleans, was in response to a request from the Louisiana Alligator Farmers and Ranchers Association as it seeks to fund efforts in support of Louisiana’s alligator industry. Currently, a $4 fee is collected by LDWF for each alligator hide shipped out of state. Each $1 gained from the tag reduction will be directed by industry participants to efforts to keep the alligator market secure and competitive.
“This is an opportunity for LDWF to support an industry that is a vital part of the Louisiana economy,’’ said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet, a former alligator farmer. “They’re not asking to reduce the tag fee permanently, only for two years. This will provide the alligator industry with the resources needed to make sure they are able to continue to do business globally.’’
Alligator population rebound
Louisiana’s alligator population continues to thrive since it was threatened in the 1960s and 1970s. Estimates had the population at a low of about 100,000 in Louisiana in 1963. Today, that number is about 2 million in the wild in Louisiana. There are an estimated 300,000 more on alligator farms in Louisiana. The alligator was removed from the Endangered Species List in 1987.
The primary reason for the rebound in Louisiana was LDWF’s sustainable use Marsh to Market program, which continues today. When consumers buy alligator products they are actually helping the species to flourish in Louisiana. Much of the money derived from purchasing alligator products goes back into LDWF’s alligator program, which benefits not only the animal but also the coastal habitat where it dwells.
To see the full NOI, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.