Oil and gas lawsuits lead to loss of Bassmaster tournaments for Louisiana
Bass Angler Sportsman Society will no longer hold Bassmaster tournaments in coastal Louisiana as a result of the uncertainty surrounding coastal lawsuits against the oil and gas industry, The Washington Times reports.
In the years after trial lawyers won billions from BP for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, private landowners and oil and gas industry players have begun closing access to more and more of the intricate waterways along the coast for fear of getting caught up in a lawsuit.
Fed up with trying to navigate the increasingly complicated network of fishable or banned water, BASS has given up on holding tournaments in Louisiana.
“For the foreseeable future, we can’t have a level playing field there because of the access problems,” says BASS Conservation Director Gene Gilliland. “Louisiana just has some very peculiar laws that don’t mesh well with tournaments and that are going to deter a lot of recreational fishermen as well. Who knows how much they’ll lose?”
According to 2016 state data, outdoor recreation created more jobs in the state than energy with more than 100,000 jobs and recreational fishing licenses brought in $13.4 million.
Louisiana brands itself as “sportsmen’s paradise,” and anglers visiting the state spent $453 million in 2016, revenue that would dwindle as more organizations make decisions like BASS.
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