It appears residents are finding fishing a great way to have fun and stay safe in the age of COVID-19, said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries officials in a recent news release.
May fishing license sales outperformed the same month in 2019, continuing a trend that saw higher numbers in March and April compared to the same months last year, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
LDWF records show the department sold 51,539 fishing licenses during May compared to 38,266 during May of 2019, an increase of 13,273 licenses. That’s an increase of 35 percent.
“We hope the increase in license sales is also providing some much- needed relief for the locally owned restaurants, docks and sporting goods stores that depend on fishing for their livelihoods,” LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “Anglers spend over $800 million dollars each year on fishing trips and equipment in Louisiana, this is an important stimulus for our economy; not to mention a fun time with family and friends.”
The department saw the rise in licenses sales days after Gov. Edwards issued his Stay At Home order in late March. That included restrictions that limited group gatherings to 10 or less and required social distancing of six feet. Many people, working from home at the time, took advantage of the outdoors.
In March, LDWF sold 15,162 saltwater licenses compared to 12,995 during the prior March 2019. There were 28,800 basic fishing licenses sold in March, compared to 20,550 in March 2019.
In April, residents purchased 39,702 basic fishing licenses compared to 18,901 in April of 2019. In April of 2020, there were 21,000 saltwater licenses sold compared to 13,771 in April of 2019.
Montoucet said he hopes the sales continue to move upward as the revenue is vital to the life of the department and its ability to enforce safety on our waterways, conduct biological testing of our fish and wildlife, fight invasive vegetation in state waterways, and maintain wildlife management areas. LDWF does not receive funding from the state.
LDWF reminds residents that is wise to purchase fishing licenses now. Annual fishing licenses, which went on sale June 1, are valid from the date of purchase and expire on June 30 of each year.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. LDWF receives no state general funding and depends on license sales as a major funding source. Help us protect your hunting and fishing heritage while preserving habitat, wildlife, and aquatic resources by purchasing your license at http://www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email or text alerts signup here.