Comments from freshwater fishermen who, when asked, “In which of the following areas do you do MOST of your fishing activity?” answered,

Atchafalaya/Vermilion Basin

In my area of fishing we have a very big problems with a lot of agricultural chemicals and fertilizer that run off from the fields to the canals and lakes killing our fisheries.

The priority should be to restore the coastline of Louisiana, and the fishing industries will adjust accordingly to be profitable or the price of the product will increase. (The law(s) of supply and demand). Without a coastline there will be no fishing industry in Louisiana, just a sea wall at the towns & cities near the coast.

[On survey, participant changed "coastal changes" to "government regulations" when describing why the fishery had gotten worse.] The number of catfish processors (wild caught) in the past 10 years has dropped to 2 in my area from 10 to 15. Several quit because USDA wants to put inspections in their plants and provide them (illegible) office space and pay them. And work only 40 hour weeks. This report doesn't pertain to crawfish and catfish industry. It’s B.S.

I strictly fish freshwater, Atchafalaya Basin and swamp; crawfishing is my main thing. Plan to do a little catfishing and gill netting for Buffalo, carp etc. for bait.

I am a freshwater fisherman and get less for our catch then I did in 1980. We need to help with these Asian Carp (bigheads); we need someone to help us [fishermen] to market our fish because we are dying out. Please inform me if I could go talk to someone about this (signed by participant with phone number included).

Crabs should be measured by the body not by point to point. Recreational fishing shouldn't be able to keep undersized crabs or fish. License should be taken away from those [with three counts] of stealing crab traps or crawfish.

I am not sure this pertains to me. I only fish for buffalo and carp for bait and do pretty little of that these days. Only for my needs and a few catfish for the family to eat. But still get my commercial license each year. When coastal changes start to decrease a species significantly - need to limit those species. I believe the LWLF department does a good job on this. One example was the bowfin or "choupique," which was harvested for the eggs. LWLF now has a season on them.

Crabs: No harvest of females ever! Finfish: Give fishers red fish limit on trout lines. Red drum and black drum are out of control. Re: private water bottoms: private water is a joke in my state of LA. The commercial license I buy should let me fish anywhere the tide flows or my commercial fish can swim! Not enough enforcement on running of crab traps on weekends. Sport fishers are stealing. (signed by participant)

Crabs: Limit harvest on females. Finfish - Open more private waters, open a limit of red fish on trout lines. Shrimp: stop the dumping from China and other countries that export poison shrimp. Too many private water bottoms, open to only a select few and not for all commercial fishers.

Any fish that are legal to take recreationally should be legal to take commercially. Any fish allowed to be taken commercially should be available to all Louisiana residents, not only a select few. If you can purchase a commercial license you should be able to fish for every commercial species in Louisiana waters. All water should be public; if a boat can float it is not land and therefore should be available for commercial use!!!

In my line of work, coastal erosion is not a factor. Lock and dam operations, attempts to remove sediment at old river control, equipment increases, fuel, FDA regulations on catfish—these are major factors that hamper my livelihood. A USDA inspector has no business in a fish market that is already operating under guidelines set by Louisiana Dept. of Health. It should be illegal to raise on a farm, wild caught species. The release of Asian carp from these ponds in the 90's has totally ruined Louisiana waterways. We deal with this daily. Unlike farmers, we are not subsidized by the government. (signed by participant and phone number included)

I took a big hit to my catch when the Army Corps closed the Calumet Cut flood gates. Also, the buyers of the bait only want to work Mon-Fri. I would be able to fish when the fish are there if I had a better way of keeping them fresh until the buyers want to work.