The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has announced that it is currently conducting stock assessments on various recreational and commercial fish stocks, including Redfish (Red Drum), in Louisiana state waters.
LDWF is conducting a non-legislatively mandated stock assessment of Redfish (Red Drum) using data collected through 2021. This stock assessment report will be available after the scientific peer-review process has been completed in late 2022 or early 2023, the department reports. Previous stock assessments of Gulf of Mexico Redfish were conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service, with the most recent federal assessment conducted in 2000.
Results of the earlier federal assessments were used to establish management thresholds at a minimum 30-percent escapement rate for juvenile fish from the inshore state fisheries to offshore waters. The most recent escapement rate estimates for Louisiana Redfish were reported in 2006, indicating the stock was above the 30-percent escapement rate threshold. The Redfish stock assessment LDWF is currently conducting will provide updated estimates of escapement rates and stock size to determine the current stock status.
Four legislatively mandated stock assessments for Black Drum, Southern Flounder, Sheepshead and Striped Mullet are conducted every five years. All stock assessments go through an external peer-review process before being presented to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC). These four mandated assessments will be presented to the LWFC in February 2025 before being provided to the Louisiana Legislature in March 2025.
Stock assessments are also conducted on additional species of importance, such as Blue Crab, and Speckled Trout (Spotted Seatrout). These assessments are typically conducted every three years or as requested by fishery managers or the LWFC. Some examples of these assessments are:
- Blue Crab stock assessment was conducted in 2022 using data collected through 2021.
- Speckled Trout (Spotted Seatrout) stock assessment was conducted in 2021 using data collected through 2020.
- Oyster stock assessments are conducted annually.
- Brown and White Shrimp stock assessments are conducted at the federal level Gulf-wide.
- Gulf Menhaden stock assessments are conducted at the federal level Gulf-wide.