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Help keep non-native sterlet sturgeon out of Louisiana - Send your comment today

January 15, 2018 6:00 PM

It’s not too late to stop another non-native species from being introduced in Louisiana. 
Send a comment against approval of Sterlet sturgeon in Louisiana.

There will be a public meeting on January 24, 2018 at 10am at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge LA 70808. Please send in comments before this meeting to the seven Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission members who need to hear your opinion. You can count on LWF representatives being at the meeting to continue commenting against this approval but we need your comments as well.

Go here to submit your comments easily and quickly

Louisiana Wildlife Federation is opposed to the introduction of a non-native species that could possibly be released in the wild where it can 1) endanger Louisiana’s native sturgeon species through hybridization and competition and 2) join the list of non-native or invasive species thriving in Louisiana’s wild natural habitat causing ecosystem imbalance and needing public funding for control or eradication methods.

Louisiana’s native sturgeon includes Gulf sturgeon, which is federally listed as a threatened species, freshwater Shovelnose sturgeon, and Pallid sturgeon, which is federally listed as an endangered species and found in the Mississippi, Atchafalaya and Red rivers. The endangered Pallid sturgeon is known to co-occur and hybridize with smaller and more abundant Shovelnose sturgeon. If the Sterlet sturgeon were to escape or be illegally introduced to the wild, it could have a negative effect on native populations.

Here’s a partial list of the non-native flora and fauna found in Louisiana causing problems: giant salvinia, water hyacinth, hydrilla, nutria, feral hog, cichlid, apple snail, zebra mussel, Asian carp, and Chinese tallow. Millions of dollars are spent annually in Louisiana to control invasive species and their impact on native species, recreational enjoyment and/or ecological balance. Let’s not add to the problem.

Several wildlife biologists have already commented about the negative impact of accidental release. Louisiana cannot be too cautious in this decision. Louisiana’s native fish depend on our protective measures today.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE NEEDED! TAKE A MOMENT TO SEND A COMMENT.

BACKGROUND: In October 2017 the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission voted to modify rules and regulations for approved Domestic Aquatic Organisms to include Sterlet sturgeon. This would allow non-native Sterlet sturgeon in Louisiana for aquaculture purposes including processing for meat and caviar. Louisiana Wildlife Federation submitted comments opposing Sterlet sturgeon in Louisiana.

After a rare rulemaking oversight meeting held in November 2017 (the first in 20 years), the Louisiana House of Representatives Committe on Natural Resources and Environment sent a letter to the Commissioners expressing concerns about the “accidental release of non-native species into our watershed. There have been too many instances where non-native species have been introduced into a biome and serious damage to the native species has resulted.” Louisiana’s legislature has previously recognized the introduction of non-native species for the purpose of aquaculture as posing a real threat to Louisiana’s native species and their environments.

In December, the Commissioners modified the Notice of Intent to increase oversight and control of transportation of these fish. But in LWF’s opinion, more money spent on public escorts of fish being trucked into Louisiana is not a solution that lowers concerns about the many ways these fish could be released.

There will be a public meeting on January 24, 2018 at 10am at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge LA 70808. You can send in comments before this meeting to:

Mr. Robert Bourgeois
Office of Fisheries
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
PO Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000

By email: rbourgeois@wlf.la.gov
 

SOURCES:

NOI link: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/document/41405-noi-dao-sterlet-sturgeon-mark/noi_-_dao_-_sterlet_sturgeon_mark-up.pdf

Information and public comments submitted to commission members at their October meeting (starting page 54):

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/page/31721-commission-minutes-2011-2017/octoberminutes.pdf

Louisiana House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources and Environment letter: http://www.lawildlifefed.org/files/110817 NR Cmte Letter to WLF Commission.pdf

From the Louisiana Register Potpourri issued on December 20, 2017 describing the substantive changes to the original Notice of Intent related to shipments of Sterlet sturgeon on page 205 of this pdf: http://www.doa.la.gov/osr/REG/1712/1712.pdf

 

(Photo from Wikipedia)


 
 
 
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