An environmental group is hoping to help ban pogie boats from Louisiana's coastal waters.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership's (TRCP) mission is a simple one:

To guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish. TRCP.org

The organization posted a support letter on its website to encourage people to write to their representatives in hopes of encouraging them to vote for House Bill 535, which would set a boundary "extending one half mile seaward from land where the taking of menhaden (pogie) is prohibited."

Pogie, or menhaden, is a silver fish that many species of larger game fish and birds thrive on, and commercial fishermen harvest them by the millions of pounds.

Wikipedia lists the many uses of pogie, or menhaden:

They are processed into fish oil and fish meal that are used as food ingredientsanimal feed, and dietary supplements.[5] The flesh has a high omega-3 fat content. Fish oil made from menhaden also is used as a raw material for products such as lipstick.[9] -  Wikipedia

There can be big money in Pogie.

TRCP, in its web post, cites that only 2 companies benefit from "reduction" fishing (the process of harvesting pogie and grinding them down for use), and both of those companies are foreign companies. TRCP claims that this bill will support Louisiana sport fishing and the local establishments frequented by sport fishermen (and women, of course).

Townsquare Media Photo by John Falcon

According to NOLA.com, the Louisiana House voted yesterday to pass the bill (67-28) and it now moves on to the Senate. If it passes in the Senate and signed into law, TRCP claims that it would help increase the populace of game fish, help preserve spawning and nesting sites along the coast, and help reduce corrosion along Louisiana's coastline.

H.B. 535 would provide much needed protection from industrial menhaden fishing within our surf zone—the sensitive, shallow waters along our shorelines, where many of our favorite fish species and iconic Louisiana wildlife spawn, nest, and feed. This bill creates a half-mile buffer across the entire coast, with special one-mile buffer zones in specific areas and a three-mile buffer zone off Grand Isle. - TRCP.org

Representative of Omega Protein, one of the commercial pogie fisheries, says that the bill could cost local jobs.

Staff Photo

According to NOLA, Louisiana is the only state on the Gulf of Mexico without a buffer zone, and this law, if passed, would institute the same size buffer zone enforced off the coast of Texas.

If you'd like to send a copy of the letter to your representative, click here.

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