- The Washington Times - Monday, September 4, 2006

HOUMA, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s bounty on nutria will increase by $1 for the coming trapping and hunting season as the state again pushes a program to keep the rodents from gnawing away at coastal marshes.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said last week that each nutria tail turned in by trappers and hunters will fetch $5, an increase from the $4-a-tail incentive offered since the program started in 2002.

Terrebonne Parish trappers and hunters regularly lead the state in nutria harvests as part of the program. Lafourche Parish follows close behind.

This year’s season is tentatively scheduled from Nov. 20 to March 31. The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will set firm dates for the season during Thursday’s meeting of the state Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, said Edmond Mouton, biologist program manager for the state wildlife department.

The state developed the Coastwide Nutria Control Program in an effort to curb wetland loss caused by the bucktoothed rodents.

Nutria weigh an average of 12 pounds and can eat an estimated 25 percent of their weight in marsh plants each day, chewing away the stems and roots that hold the marsh together.

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