WHEREAS, introduced to Louisiana in the 1930s, the nutria (Myocastor coypus) is a semiaquatic, herbivorous mammal native to South America, and
WHEREAS, twenty years ago, a large Cameron Parish nutria brought $8 or more in the fur trade, the species was considered an asset by coastal landowners and trappers, and it was the “backbone” of Louisiana’s trapping industry, and
WHEREAS, times have changed, and this exotic species, well adapted to Louisiana’s abundant wetland habitat, has become a serious nuisance that trapping for the market is no longer adequate to control, and
WHEREAS, the nutria’s burrowing habit undermines levees, and its great abundance and voracious appetite for wetland vegetation is causing serious damage to thousands of acres of coastal wetlands, equaling the extent of the “brown marsh” which has gotten so much recent attention, and
WHEREAS, state and federal governments have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on strategies to control the nutria population and the damage it is doing, with limited success, and
WHEREAS, currently, the nutria is considered a fur-bearer and cannot legally be harvested by recreational hunters unless they also possess a trapping license and harvest only during the trapping season, and
WHEREAS, legislation is necessary to allow the taking of nutria by recreational hunters and thereby authorizing the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) to set a recreational hunting season and bag limit for the species, and
WHEREAS, properly handled and prepared, nutria make good table fare; gumboed, jambalayaed, deep-fried, barbequed and stewed, among other methods of preparation, and
WHEREAS, recreational hunters should have the opportunity to harvest nutria under regulations set by the LWFC to provide meat for the table as well as to help control what has become a very serious nuisance and cause of massive wetland damage in the coastal zone.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation urges the Louisiana Legislature to authorize, and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to establish, recreational hunting seasons and bag limits for nutria.
Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in convention assembled, 62 nd Annual Meeting, March 4, 2001 in Many, Louisiana.