LEGAL CORNER: Can I sell fish I caught for recreation?

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 5:52 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Legal Corner answers viewers’ civil legal questions.

QUESTION: The guys and I went out fishing for Good Friday and together we caught over 100 bass and catfish! So naturally everyone we knew wanted us to “give” them some. We told them we will sell them to you. Then my sister said, you cannot sell fish you caught when you are fishing for recreation. I have never heard this before. Is this true?

ANSWER: Yes, she is correct. “Recreational fishing” is defined as “fishing or fishing activities which result in the harvest of fish. The Sale, barter, or trade of catch by recreational fishers is prohibited.  No person shall sell or barter any fish that has been taken recreationally or under the authority of any type of recreational fishing license or with any recreational gear. ((RS 56§302.10. Sale of recreational catch A)

QUESTION: Is there a law in Louisiana that says that recreational fish can be sold to a Catch and Cook Program?

ANSWER: Well, you are almost correct. It is lawful for retail food establishments to receive and prepare (not purchase) any freshwater or saltwater recreational fish or alligator. Louisiana Catch and Cook provides fishermen and alligator hunters the opportunity to enjoy dining on their own catch-of-the-day prepared by a professional chef only hours after coming off the water. Through this program, permitted establishments may prepare and serve fish or alligator caught by licensed fishermen or alligator hunters. Any retail food establishment wishing to participate in the program can apply for a free permit issued by LDWF. Participating retail food establishments may charge the guest any amount they choose for preparing the item.

Fishermen and alligator hunters should contact permitted retail food establishments well in advance of scheduled fishing or hunting trips to make arrangements. Rules and regulations, penalties, terms, conditions and requirements apply to those food establishments, fishermen, and alligator hunters participating in the program. (RS 56: §317. Louisiana Catch and Cook Program; preparation of recreational fish or alligator in retail food establishments)

Q3. The men in our church are planning sporting events during the fishing and hunting seasons to teach and train young teenagers. Does each person who participates need to purchase a license to fish and another license to hunt?

A. No they do not. The secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is hereby authorized to certify a not-for-profit organization as an “organization involved in charitable hunting and fishing activities”. Individuals engaged in hunting or fishing activities conducted by a not-for-profit organization certified by the secretary as an “organization involved in charitable hunting and fishing activities” shall be exempt from the requirement for a hunting or fishing license while engaged in activities sponsored by that organization. So, the only costs to the church will be the equipment and to ensure the safety of the participants. (RS 56: §641.2. Certification of certain not-for-profit organizations involved in charitable hunting and fishing activities; exemption from license requirements)