NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Speckled trout (spotted sea bass) has long been the prized catch for saltwater anglers in Louisiana, but their numbers have dwindled, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is hoping changes to the number of fish anglers can keep will help stabilize their population.

Assistant Secretary Patrick Banks states, “We are removing more fish each year than the population can sustain, so that’s why we need to reduce the take of fish on an annual basis to try to help that population live within the sustainability of what habitat can support.”

The limit change takes effect on Nov. 20. It’s a historic step, as our state has had the most generous cull limits of all the Gulf states at 25 per man per day, and that is changing to 15 per man per day but the size of the fish one can keep is also changing.

“Previously the minimum size for a speckled trout is 12″ that will move up to 13″. So that will save a few fish there and just to let the anglers know those fish grow quite quickly,” said Banks

The changes have been debated in the agency for some time now but among the fishermen WGNO spoke with, preservation of the fishery is understood.

According to local angler Sean Fefie, “I always want more fish but hey, it’s a good thing. That means the fishery is going to be preserved. More fishermen, more longtime fishermen and let the fish kind of repopulate more to so it’ll be a good thing.”

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