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Louisiana has the most liberal inshore saltwater fishing limits in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re difficult to reach. Anglers regularly return to docks scattered along the marshy Louisiana coast with 25 speckled trout, 10 flounder or five redfish and sometimes all of the above cooling in the ice chest.

When fish are getting yanked uk canada goose outlet into the boat canadian goose jacket almost as quickly as an angler can get a lure in the water, the fun canada goose outlet sometimes overcomes discretion, and that same angler will wonder what he’s going to do with all that meat after he fillets the fish. Some eat what they can and give the rest away, while others load up their freezers with fillets packed in Ziploc bags that they’ll throw out buy canada goose jacket in two years.

But another smaller minority will canada goose sell their catch to canada goose outlet parka restaurants, seafood markets or acquaintances. It’s common dock talk among anglers that some of their cohorts have even put their kids through college with money canada goose outlet store raised from selling recreationally caught canada goose outlet sale fish, particularly speckled trout.

Evidence of that, perhaps, can be seen on chalkboards outside South Louisiana restaurants advertising some type of speckled trout dish as the Chef’s Special canada goose outlet new york city of the Day. There are certainly legal means for restaurants to acquire commercially caught and sold speckled trout. Mississippi and North Carolina both have viable commercial canada goose outlet uk fisheries for what is a favorite fish among many Louisiana diners. canada goose factory outlet every year since 2000, and the numbers are trending downward. In 2015, in fact, Gulf Coast commercial fishers harvested only 38,000 pounds of speckled trout.

Of those fish, only a small percentage come annually from Louisiana. Prior to canada goose outlet online 1995, the state’s commercial fishers were subject to a 1 million pound annual quota, and they regularly met it, but that year, the Legislature banned entanglement nets for commercial fishing. As official canada goose outlet part of the negotiating process, legislators added a commercial rod and reel fishery for speckled trout, but opened it only to fishers who could prove they earned a substantial portion of their income from speckled trout harvest.

In 2016, only canada goose outlet toronto factory 14 of these canada goose store individuals remained active in the fishery, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. canada goose outlet shop That year, they harvested only 2,462 pounds of speckled trout.

That might be a good year’s worth of sales at a couple of successful seafood restaurants. So where are all the rest of these speckled trout dishes coming from?

It’s the department’s duty to find out, according to Adam Einck, media relations officer for the agency’s Enforcement Division.

Agents are constantly on the lookout for recreational anglers selling their catch to canada goose outlet restaurants or seafood markets, Einck said, but their best canada goose uk shop method for catching illegal fish sellers is hearing from other anglers.

“The Enforcement Division relies on public tips for a large amount of their cases made for illegally selling fish,” he said. “When getting a public tip, agents then determine the best method available to determine if there is any illegal activity taking place. This can (include) setting up a sting where someone will attempt to sell fish illegally or buy fish illegally.”

Other methods, Einck said, include investigation of business records, including trip tickets, receipts and even tax returns.

In 2016, agents made 41 cases that involved selling fish caught recreationally or buying or selling fish without a wholesale or retail dealer’s license, Einck said.

Some anglers feel that since Louisiana has such abundant natural resources and liberal limits on estuarine fish, they should be legally allowed to sell at least a portion of their catch. Loosening of restrictions, they argue, would allow fresh, local seafood to be sold canada goose outlet canada to the non angling public through seafood markets and restaurants.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association didn’t reply to numerous requests asking if the organization would support such a move, but David Cresson, chief executive officer of the Coastal Conservation Association, said his group is entirely opposed to it.

“We believe that as soon as you put a price on a fish, or any wildlife resource, you change the motivations and inevitably increase pressure on that resource past what it can sustainably endure,” he said. “That is a lesson we learned on land and in fresh water many years ago, but we still haven’t embraced it in the marine environment.”

That may be because the penalties aren’t cheap Canada Goose severe enough to make recreational anglers think twice before selling their fish. According to Einck, there are two possible penalties an angler could receive if busted selling his or her catch. The first selling or buying fish without a wholesale or retail dealer’s license carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. The other selling fish caught recreationally brings stiffer fines of $400 to $950 and up to 120 days in jail plus revocation of fishing privileges for up to one year.

Still, many anglers may just view any potential busts as the cost of doing business. According to the department, the 2,462 pounds of speckled trout caught legally by commercial fishers in 2016 had a dock value of $9,546, or $3.88 per pound.

If recreational anglers are selling their catch for about the same price, an ice chest with 50 pound and a half speckled trout would go for $291. uk canada goose At that price, it wouldn’t take many sales to easily cover any potential fines.

Einck said the best way for anglers to report their cohorts who are selling their catch is through Operation Game Thief, which offers a toll free number (800 442 2511), an app and a number (847411) to which smart phone users can text LADWF followed by their tips.

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