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La.'s wounded veterans eligible for exclusive fishing

The Courier - 11/18/2018

Nov. 18--Wounded and disabled military veterans will get an exclusive chance to catch red snapper off Louisiana's coast through the rest of this year.

The program was announced last week by Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Office of Veterans Affairs and the Coast Conservation Association.

The recreational season for the popular game fish closed Aug. 12 in Louisiana, when estimates showed anglers were within 5,911 pounds of reaching the state's 743,000-pound limit.

The wounded veterans will be allowed to catch the rest, though the permits will allow snapper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico's state waters only, which extend nine miles from shore. They can do so through Dec. 31 or until the state quote is met.

"We can never do enough to thank our veterans for their service to our country, but we'll always try," Edwards, a West Point graduate, said in announcing the program. "I hope our wounded veterans, who sacrificed so much for our country, will have a great time on their fishing trips. They deserve it, and it is a great way to ensure we catch our full allotment of red snapper in 2018."

"Our anglers did such a great job helping our agency manage the red snapper catch numbers earlier this year that now we are in a position to do something good for our wounded veterans. I could not be happier," said Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montouce, a Marine veteran. "With less than 6,000 pounds of red snapper quota left over after the regular fishing season, it was not enough to reopen the season even for one day to the entire recreational fishing community. This opportunity allows veterans to help us fully reach our 2018 red snapper fishing quota."

The Raceland-based advocacy group Wounded War Heroes will coordinate fishing trips and permits for the veterans who want to participate. Anyone wishing to help or participate may contact Collette Foret, a representative with the nonprofit, via email at info@woundedwarheros.org. Include the words "red snapper" in the subject line. The group is looking for wounded or disabled veterans or boaters who want to take them on fishing trips.

Deron Santiny, a member of the Wounded War Heroes organization, thanked the governor and state agencies for involving the group.

"It really means a lot," said Santiny, who is also a member of the Louisiana Veterans Affairs Commission. "I know I speak for all of them in saying that you have no idea how much this means to us."

For information about Wounded War Heroes, visit woundedwarheroes.org.

-- Executive Editor Keith Magill can be reached at 857-2201 or keith.magill@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @CourierEditor.

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(c)2018 The Houma Courier, La.

Visit The Houma Courier, La. at www.houmatoday.com

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