Early season for pogie: bait company's freezer nearly empty
NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has declared an emergency so the state's one menhaden bait boat can begin fishing two weeks early.
Louisiana Bait Products LLC officials say the emergency is that they've sold most of the 5,550 tons harvested last year, and don't want to run out.
Co-founder Daniel Edgar estimates that Louisiana's crawfish, crab and catfish industries use 37,500 to 50,000 tons of bait a year, most trucked from the East Coast.
The Gulf of Mexico commercial menhaden season runs from the third Monday in April through Nov. 1.
Louisiana allocates 3,000 tons for its November bait-only season. If less is caught, another bait-only season generally begins April 1. This year, it begins March 15.