Fishing

Agencies Continue Investigation of Fish Kill in Pearl River

Release Date: 08/17/2011

August 17, 2011 – State, local and federal agencies continue to respond to a fish kill in the Pearl River that originated near Bogalusa in Washington Parish. This fish kill was reported on Saturday and the slug of black water believed to have caused or contributed to the fish kills has moved south through St. Tammany Parish.

In response to the event, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has deployed its Mobile Command Unit to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Pearl River Wildlife Management Area to serve as unified command area to support local emergency management and other state agencies in this response effort.  GOHSEP has also activated its Crisis Action Team. LDWF and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) continue to monitor the water in Pearl River. Water sampling results for dissolved oxygen and pH show the river is returning to normal water quality.

Officials from DEQ worked with its counterparts in Mississippi to have the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District increase the discharge from the Ross Barnett Reservoir to increase the flow in the Pearl River, according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. The increased flow in the river will increase the amount of fresh water in the river and help increase the low oxygen currently in the river.

LDWF fisheries biologists continue to survey the Pearl River, beginning in Pools Bluff Sill south to the Rigolets. On Tuesday, August 16, LDWF staff surveyed 36 miles of the West Pearl River from Holmes Bayou to the Rigolets.

The total number of dead fish and mussels is still being compiled; information from each day’s surveillance will be assembled for a total count at the end of the event. The final total estimates will include those from DEQ and Mississippi DEQ. To date, 24 species of fish have been identified as part of the fish kill, including paddlefish, American eels, catfish, bass, bluegill and shad. Two species of freshwater mussels have also been identified in the fish kill.

Also included in the kill are Gulf sturgeon -- a species listed as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. As of August 16, 19 Gulf sturgeon were collected by LDWF. Specimens are being handed over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as part of their investigation. LDWF fisheries biologists and enforcement agents are assisting USFWS in the investigation. 

The Department of Health and Hospitals recommends the following precautions, if you encounter or come into contact with (are exposed to) a fish kill:

• Stay out of the affected waters – If you were exposed to these waters, then bathe well with soap and water. Use antiseptics on any open cut or wound.
• Do not eat, handle, or collect any fish or shellfish from the affected waters.
• Do not let pets wade or swim in, drink, or eat fish from the affected waters.
• Seek medical advice if you experience illness that may be related to exposures to a fish kill, such as skin irritation or infection, upset stomach, sore throat, or breathing difficulty. 

The investigation into the cause of the fish kill continues.

The agencies involved have put together the following list of frequently asked questions to assist local officials and the public:


Pearl River
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Where do we call with complaints/information?
A.   The DEQ hotline number is 225-342-1234 or 1-888-763-5424. The DEQ Regional Office number is 504-736-7701.  The LDWF 24-hour hotline for reporting further fish kill impacts is 1-800-442-2511. If someone has questions about coming into contact with “black water,” the number for the Louisiana Poison Center, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is 1-800-222-1222. Media inquiries should go to 225-219-3964 or 225-329-9743.

Q. Is my drinking water safe?
A. Yes. No public water systems take water from the Pearl River, so there is no risk to drinking water from community water systems. Additionally, out of an abundance of caution, DHH sampled three public water systems along the Pearl River for volatile organic contaminants (VOCs) to confirm that the ground water supply was not impacted by the discharge incident. The samples showed no increase in VOCs and no VOCs above contaminant levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Q. What about private well water?
A. Private wells should be constructed in a way that does not take water from the river, so they should not be impacted. Additional testing of public water systems shows no VOCs above the level of concern in groundwater. People who are concerned should have their wells tested and/or treated.

Q.  Are there any human health risks from the substance that was discharged into the river?
A.  Fish kills occur for several reasons. The most common cause of death in a fish kill is a sudden shortage or absence of oxygen in the water. This does not pose a major human health risk. If a hazardous substance is involved, more caution will be required. Testing is currently underway by public safety officials. In the meantime, DHH recommends the following precautions, if you encounter or come in contact with (are exposed to) a fish kill:

• Stay out of the affected waters – If you went into these waters, then bathe well with soap and water. Use antiseptics on any open cut or wound.
• Do not eat, handle, or collect any fish or shellfish from the affected waters.
• Do not let pets wade or swim in, drink, or eat fish from the affected waters.
• Seek medical advice if you experience illness that may be related to contact with the water or dead fish and might include skin irritation or infection, GI upset, sore throat, or breathing difficulty. 

Q. Are any waterways closed as a result of this incident?
A. No. The Pearl River is a federally designated waterway; only the U.S. Coast Guard may issue a closure for this river and it has not done so at this time.

Q. What is the “Black Water” that is referred to in this incident?
A. We believe that the black water originated from an upset condition in the wastewater treatment system at the Temple Inland facility in Bogalusa.  However, we are in the middle of investigating the existing facts of the matter and are awaiting the results of analytical tests.  This material is what is commonly known in the paper industry as black liquor.  This material has a very high level of organic material that quickly reduces the available dissolved oxygen in the water.  Fish and other aquatic life actually suffocate when trapped in this water. 

Q. Who is responsible for this incident?
A. An investigation is ongoing by Louisiana, Mississippi and Federal officials to determine the cause or causes that lead to the fish kill. Again, we believe that the black water originated from an upset condition in the wastewater treatment system at the Temple Inland facility in Bogalusa.  However, the investigation continues as agencies continue to gather data.

Q. When the responsible party is found what happens to them?
A. The various agencies involved will each take the appropriate enforcement action based on the facts each uncovered during the investigation

Q. What are the terms DO and pH?
A. DO stands for dissolved oxygen.  It is a key factor in a healthy ecosystem and sufficient dissolved oxygen is necessary for fish to ‘breathe’. While the level of DO varies widely depending on the water body, a level of 5-7 parts per million would be normally expected in the upper reaches of the Pearl River. Additionally, pH is a chemical description for the acid/base condition of water.  It is based on a 0-14 scale with 6-8 considered generally to be normal.

Q. When will the river be back to normal?
A. The facility has been shut down since Saturday.  As such, there is no flow of effluent from the facility.  The material has flowed down the river to the Rigolets.  Subsequently, the water at the source of the discharge has already recovered.  DEQ has specialized personnel that will be on scene tomorrow that will examine the hydrology (movement, distribution, and quality of water) of the river.  After that examination we may better be able to determine when the water quality of the river will be back to normal. Water monitoring in the river shows the DO and pH levels are getting back to normal.

Q. Who is going to clean up the dead fish?
A. Temple Inland is hiring contractors and local fishermen to clean up the floating dead fish.  Citizens should leave the clean up to the contractors since federal and state law requires certain information be collected in these types and numbers of fish collected in these incidents. The estimated cleanup time if four to five days, but no timeframe is set because of the number of fish to be recovered may increase.

Q. Where will the dead fish go?
A. The fish will be disposed in a manner that meets local state, and federal laws.

Q. What kinds of fish are included in the fish kill?
A. As of now, LDWF biologists have identified 24 different species of fish in the fish kill. Some of those species are the paddlefish, the American eel, catfish, bluegill, bass and shad. Two species of freshwater mussels were also impacted by the fish kill.

Q. Were Gulf sturgeon, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, impacted by the fish kill?
A. Yes, 19 Gulf sturgeon (as of August 16) have been collected by LDWF officials and are in the custody of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for further investigation.

Q. Is the responsible party going to be shut down?
A. The facility suspected of the source of the discharge is currently not in operation.  They will not resume operations until we have assurance that they can do so safely.  Also, agencies are working with the company to assure that preventative measures are taken to prevent recurrence. 

Q. When did the fish start dying?
A. The investigation of the exact chain of events is still ongoing.  We were notified of the incident on Saturday, and the fish appeared at that time to have been dead for several days.

Q. How far did the pollution spread?
A. The investigation is ongoing; however DEQ believes the main mass of “Black Water” travelled down the West Pearl to the Rigolets.

 

For more information, contact Rodney Mallett at (225) 219-3964

Agencies Investigating Fish Kill in Pearl River

Release Date: 08/15/2011

August 15, 2011 – Fisheries biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) received a report of a large fish kill in the Pearl River near Bogalusa on Saturday afternoon, August 13, 2011. Biologists immediately coordinated with emergency responders from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and began surveys and testing of water conditions in the affected areas.
 
LDWF personnel tested the water for potential causes of the fish kill, including pH and levels of dissolved oxygen -- some common factors in fish kills. Biologists surveyed 45 miles of the river from Richardson Landing to the entrance of the West Pearl River Navigation Canal. DEQ also sent an emergency responder and a water quality specialist to investigate the fish kill.
 
Several thousand aquatic species were observed dead or dying along the river, including surface, middle and bottom dwellers. Of the fish species included in the fish kill were Paddlefish, American eels, catfish, bass, bluegill and shad.
 
DEQ has taken samples of the river water. Those samples have been sent to a lab for analysis and should be back within four to five days. The agencies involved advise the public to be aware of and avoid foam on the river or any water that is discolored.  DEQ continues to investigate the cause of the fish kill.

Working together, DEQ, LDWF, the Department of Health and Hospitals, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, as well as local and federal responders, determined that a slug of partially treated or untreated wastewater reached the river and may have caused or contributed to the fish kill.
 
According to DHH, there is no impact on drinking water from community water systems, none of which draw water from the river. DHH advises that people should not come in contact with discolored water in the Pearl River and never collect dead or floating fish to eat.
 
Crews with LDWF, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and DEQ continue to survey the river today, Monday, August 15..
 
On the Mississippi side, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality surveyed the river from Pools Bluff Sill to Walkai Bluff.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb  or follow us on Twitter@LDWF.

For more information, please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or 225-610-8660.
 

White Lake Property Advisory Board to Meet Aug. 10 in Baton Rouge

Release Date: 08/09/2011

The next regular Advisory Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries headquarters located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808      

The following items will be discussed:

1.      Roll Call

2.      Approval of Minutes of March 24, 2011 Meeting

3.      Department Financial Report

4.      Update on White Lake Leases

5.      Proposal for new biologist & technician staff

6.      Update on whooping cranes project

7.      Update on Intracoastal Canal/DU NAWCA project

8.      Update on birding trail & 700 ac impoundment

9.      Upcoming hunting season plan/changes

10.   Other Business

11.   Public Comment

12.   Adjournment

LDWF, CCA-Louisiana and Cabela's Host Women's Fishing Workshop

Release Date: 08/05/2011

Women’s Weekend Fishing Workshop Group
Women’s Weekend Fishing Workshop Fish Cleaning
Women’s Weekend Fishing Workshop Boater Ed

Aug. 5, 2011– The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), CCA-Louisiana and Cabela’s teamed up to present a Women’s Weekend Fishing Workshop on Sunday, July 24 at the Cabela’s Gonzales location.

LDWF staff from the Education Section and Fisheries Outreach provided instruction in fishing basics to 27 participants during the eight hour program.Instruction included Fishing 101, boater education, boat hauling/trailering, casting techniques, fish identification, fish cleaning and fish tagging, plus presentations on sportsfish restoration, fish otolith removal and the aging process. Hands-on activities included maneuvering a boat on a trailer, casting, tagging red fish and cleaning trout.  Each participant received complimentary outdoor items from Cabela’s and Fisheries Outreach. 

The next scheduled Women’s Weekend Workshop featuring “Hunting Basics” is scheduled for Oct. 22 at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge.  Due to limitations on space available, anyone interested should contact Karen C. Edwards at (318) 766-8144 or kedwards@wlf.la.gov for more information.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Approves Online Application Process for Oyster Harvester Permits in Lake Calcasieu

Release Date: 08/05/2011

August 4, 2011 – Today the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission passed a motion amending the rules by which Oyster Harvester Permits are issued for Lake Calcasieu.  As required by Act 329 of the 2011 Louisiana Legislative Session, anyone seeking to commercially harvest oysters in Lake Calcasieu must have one of 126 special Oyster Harvester Permits issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  

Of the 126 permits available, 63 will be issued exclusively to eligible fishermen who have historically harvested in Lake Calcasieu since January 1, 2001.  The remaining 63 permits will be issued to any person who is otherwise eligible.

Permits will be valid for a period of one year beginning October 1, of a given year and ending September 30, of the following year.  Applicants are required to hold a current and valid commercial fishing license and oyster harvester license. 

Applications for permits will be available exclusively online on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website (www.wlf.louisiana.gov).  Permits will be issued on a first-come-first-serve basis, determined by the order in which completed applications are submitted through the LDWF website.  Online submission is the ONLY acceptable method to submit completed applications. 

Applications will be available beginning Monday, September 26, 2011, at 9 a.m.  Harvesters will be required to reapply on the last Monday of September each year following. 

A completed application consists of the following information:  applicant’s name, physical and mailing address, phone number, commercial license number, oyster harvester license number and personal identification number issued by a state or federal agency (i.e., driver’s license or passport). 

For more information please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363. 

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Sets Fall Shrimp Season

Release Date: 08/04/2011

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Sets Fall Shrimp Season

 

Aug. 4, 2011 – Today the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced the fall inshore shrimp season will open in Shrimp Management Zones 1, 2 and 3, on Monday, August 22, 2011 at 6 a.m.  The commission set the season based on recommendations presented by Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments from the public.

Furthermore, the commission granted authority to the LDWF Secretary to close the fall shrimp season when biological and technical data indicates the need. 

Shrimp Management Zone 1 includes Louisiana waters from the Mississippi-Louisiana state line to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River. 

Shrimp Management Zone 2 extends from to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island.

Shrimp Management Zone 3 extends from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Louisiana-Texas state line.

Certain waters adjacent to Bay Jimmy and Grand Terre Island located in the Barataria Basin are closed to all recreational and commercial fishing except for recreational and charter boat angling because of closures still in effect from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Portions of the Mississippi River’s birds-foot delta are also closed due to this incident. 

Preliminary Louisiana shrimp landings statistics indicate that approximately 26.5 million pounds of shrimp (all species combined/heads-off weight) were landed in Louisiana from January 2011 through June 2011.   

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363. 

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Modifies Rule for Harvest of Mullet

Release Date: 08/04/2011

Aug. 4, 2011 – Today the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission passed a motion to modify the commercial mullet season by allowing the harvest of live mullet for bait purposes. 

The commission modified the existing rules to remain consistent with changes made during the 2011 Louisiana Legislative Session.    

The proposed rule states that commercial harvest of live mullet for bait purposes will be allowed in any season with a cast net not to exceed 12-feet in radius.  The proposed rule also requires that commercial fishermen wishing to harvest live mullet for bait purposes be required to obtain a commercial fishing license and a commercial cast net license, for each cast net, as well as all other applicable licenses.  The proposed rule further states that cast nets used for the commercial harvest of live mullet for bait purposes shall only be operated manually and that no mechanical device may be used to hold open the cast net or propel/deploy the cast net.

Currently the only commercial season for the taking of mullet is from the third Monday in October of a given year through the third Monday in January of the following year. 

Public comments on the notice of intent will be accepted prior to October 6, 2011. 

Comments should be submitted to Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000, or via e-mail to jadriance@wlf.la.gov.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

EDITORS: For more information, contact Laura Deslatte-Wooderson at (225)610-2363 or at lwooderson@wlf.louisiana.gov.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Modifies Rules for Recreational Harvest of Bluefin Tuna

Release Date: 08/04/2011

 

Aug. 4, 2011 – Today the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission passed a motion to modify existing rules for the recreational harvest of bluefin tuna, in an effort to remain consistent with federal regulations currently in place. 

The proposed rule would change the minimum size limit for bluefin tuna to be 73 inches.  The proposed rule also changes bag and possession limits to one bluefin tuna per vessel per year. 

Currently fishing of bluefin tuna is prohibited in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and bluefin tuna may only be kept as incidental catch and only while possessing a Highly Migratory Species Recreational Angling Permit issued by NOAA Fisheries Service.

Public comments on the Notice of Intent will be accepted prior to October 6, 2011. 

Comments should be submitted to Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000, or via e-mail to jadriance@wlf.la.gov.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

EDITORS: For more information contact Laura Deslatte-Wooderson at (225)610-2363 or lwooderson@wlf.louisiana.gov.

 

L.D.W.F. Kicks Off Yellowfin Tuna Tagging Program

Release Date: 08/04/2011

 

Department expands Louisiana Saltwater Series Fishing Tournament to include yellowfin tuna; first tournament of its kind in the Gulf of Mexico

Aug. 4, 2011- This fall, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) plans to launch a Yellowfin Tuna Tagging Program, an initiative unique to the Gulf of Mexico.  The program promotes a culture of catch, tag and release in the recreational fishing community and contributes to the scientific data necessary to further understand the behaviors of yellowfin tuna.

Tagging tuna can provide information about their movements, migrations, stock structure, growth, population size, mortality, schooling behavior and physiology.  NOAA acknowledges that the size and number of yellowfin caught are decreasing, and the downward trend has been happening since 1999.  “The new tuna tagging program will provide baseline information for the population models used to assess the health of the stock of this valuable fishery,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “It will also help clarify the evidence that yellowfin migratory patterns have been altered by the presence of offshore oil platforms.”

LDWF plans to kick off the program with a tag-and-release tournament at Venice Marina on Saturday, September 24.  With the success of the 2011 redfish tournaments, the department added a Yellowfin Tuna Fall Shootout to their Louisiana Saltwater Series.  By encouraging live tag and release, the series has focused attention on the conservation of our marine resources. 

This is the first tournament of its kind in the Gulf of Mexico, and there is a 100 percent payout for first, second and third place finishers.  Payout is determined based upon the total number of boats entered.  A $5,000 prize is up for grabs to the chartered boat with the most tagged yellowfin.  There is also a kill fish division, and the team with the largest tuna weighed will win an offshore tackle package valued at $3,000.

There is a $500 entry fee per boat for the tournament, with a maximum of eight anglers total on each team.

Additional information, including rules, regulations and entry forms will soon be available at www.lasaltwaterseries.com.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-5113.

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting August 3 in New Orleans

Release Date: 08/02/2011

The Louisiana Oyster Task Force will hold a meeting on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 10 a.m.  The meeting will take place in room 206 of the Lindy C. Boggs Conference Center located at 2045 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans, Louisiana.

The agenda for the meeting is below.

 

I.                 Roll Call

II.          New Business

       A. Cultch plant locations

      B. Oyster substitution/moratorium legislation

 

For more information contact Laura Deslatte-Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363.

 

Syndicate content