Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) announcement that it would no longer allow participants in the Bassmaster Elite Sabine River Tournament, hosted in nearby Orange, Texas, to fish in Louisiana waters. Additionally, BASS declared in the announcement it would no longer hold tournaments on the Atchafalaya Basin because “Louisiana’s unusual laws governing access to navigable waters have created conflict and confusion among anglers.” According to BASS director of event and tourism partnerships Michael Mulone, local economies get a $2.5 million impact from each Elite Series tournament and a $2.1 million impact from each Open Series event.
for the BASS announcement in its entirety.
“The recent BASS announcement is a major wake up call for the state of Louisiana and a perfect example of ridiculous laws causing serious damage to Louisiana's economy and our legacy as Sportsman's Paradise" stated Louisiana Sportsmen's Coalition (LaSC) board member Sean Robbins. "The LaSC exists so that everyone's children and grandchildren
not just a select few
will be able to enjoy the bountiful public resources of our beautiful state".
Unfortunately, restricted access to waters that ebb and flow with the tide is a major problem throughout coastal Louisiana. The vast majority of Louisiana’s coastal waterbodies lie above what state law currently considers private water bottoms. In fact, you may be surprised to learn
how much of our coastal wetlands the Louisiana Office of State Lands considers private
. The Louisiana legislature granted ownership of these water bottoms and their mineral rights to property owners in 1992 through Act 998.
For about two decades, Act 998 had little effect on fishing as almost all of the water bottom owners chose not to restrict access to the water sitting above their water bottoms. Regrettably, this has changed drastically in recent years. At alarming rates, water bottom owners are using makeshift gates to physically block access or employing armed civilians in unmarked vessels to intimidate and threaten fishermen. Several fishermen have been threatened with a firearm to leave areas they’ve fished their whole lives. In many cases, these fishermen did not know they trespassed. Most local law enforcement agencies have sided with property owners, and fishermen have been arrested and given trespassing tickets for fishing in wide-open, tidally-influenced water.
Louisiana recreational fishing creates a $1.5 billion annual impact and supports more than 13,000 jobs (Source:
American Sportfishing Association
). Baked into this figure is the economic impact BASS tournaments used to have on our state and now send somewhere else. As property owners continue to restrict public access, the future of recreational fishing in Louisiana is in great peril. If this trend continues, it will cost the state billions, and it won’t just be anglers who will lose. It’ll be the hotels, the restaurants, the gas stations, the tackle shops, the boat dealerships and all the other supporting businesses that rely on recreational fishing effort.
"It’s an embarrassing black eye for our state. Our legacy as ‘Sportsman’s Paradise’ is under attack and we have to do something about it. We urge all citizens of Louisiana and anglers across America to join the LaSC as we fight to right this wrong." stated Robbins.
For more information, please contact Richard Fischer (985) 691-3474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Representing hundreds of recreational fishermen, charter fishermen, commercial fishermen, bird-watchers and others who recreate on or enjoy Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, the Louisiana Sportsmen’s Coalition is a non-profit, grassroots organization with the sole purpose of ensuring public access to Louisiana waters that ebb and flow with the tide.