Fishing

New Oyster Farming Technique Increases Productivity, Offers Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Release Date: 11/17/2010

A new oyster farming initiative has launched in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The goal of this effort, a collaboration between researchers from Louisiana State University and Auburn University, is industry adoption of off-bottom oyster culture to supplement the traditional harvest. Historically, oysters are grown on and harvested from reefs on the water bottom. In this new process, oysters are grown suspended in the water column.

Benefits of this new oyster farming technique include increased productivity; job creation; and continued production of a safe, sustainable domestic oyster supply, according to John Supan, Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter oyster specialist, and Bill Walton, Auburn University aquaculture and fisheries specialist. Off-bottom culture also protects oysters from predators, provides a means to reduce fouling, and allows complete harvests of planted oyster seed, a major advantage over traditional oyster harvesting.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is also working with researchers at Louisiana Sea Grant to support the off-bottom culture efforts. LDWF’s Fisheries Research Laboratory in Grand Isle, La., provides research and hatchery space to researchers from the Louisiana Sea Grant program. Department officials are also working local officials in Plaquemines Parish to develop plans for a facility, which would provide space for oyster spat, oysters in the larval stage, to develop before they are utilized by industry.

“This could be an important addition to a traditional coastal industry,” said Walton. “It’s clean, green and energy efficient. And, it provides business opportunities to those already in the oyster industry as well as other coastal residents.”

“Through proper planning, off-bottom culture can work in harmony with other water uses and users,” added Supan. “It can support both part- and full-time incomes, just like natural fisheries, but with greater control over the natural variability that dominates bottom harvesting.”

“Louisiana’s oyster fishery has been hit with major natural and man-made disasters in the last five years, and has grown wiser for it,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “We are thrilled that Louisiana Sea Grant and researchers at Auburn University have worked so diligently to develop new methods for safeguarding and developing our oyster reefs along the coast. Our Department is going to work side-by-side with the industry and researchers to help ensure the success of our oyster fishery.”

Although this program was developed prior to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the oil spill prompted increased interest in oyster farming.

“We have received more calls and questions about oyster farming in the last four months than we have combined over the prior 12 months,” said Walton. “The spill has created a window of opportunity where traditional oystermen are eager, even desperate, to find ways to get back to working on the water as soon as possible.”

“Catastrophe causes change,” added Supan. “The challenge is to direct change to improve conditions, not to settle for status quo. This project will attempt do just that.”

Both the Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory on Dauphin Island, Ala., and the Sea Grant Bivalve Hatchery at the LDWF Marine Fisheries Research Laboratory on Grand Isle, La., will provide oyster seed for this tri-state project. Program funding is provided by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium.

A series of workshops are planned during 2011 and 2012, addressing issues such as appropriate culture systems, oyster seed stock, growing market-quality oysters, and developing practices and regulations in collaboration with state agencies. For more information, contact Supan at jsupan@lsu.edu or Walton at billwalton@auburn.edu.

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at LSU, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 32 university-based programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico.

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 Roy Kron at Louisiana Sea Grant at (225) 578-6564 or rkron@lsu.edu or Olivia Watkins at LDWF at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov

2010-312

LDWF to Close Commercial Fishing of Small Coastal Sharks in La. Waters at 11:30 p.m., November 18

Release Date: 11/17/2010

NOAA predicts quota will be met; fishery will reopen until 2011 season

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close the small coastal shark fishery in state waters at 11:30 p.m., November 18, 2010. LDWF Secretary Robert Barham signed the closure, which follows the November 2 closure issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The recreational season remains open.

Commercial fishermen began harvesting blacknose and non-blacknose small coastal sharks in Louisiana waters when the state’s shark fishery opened on July 1. The small coastal shark fishery includes the bonnethead shark, the Atlantic sharpnose, the blacknose and finetooth sharks.

While the federal small coastal shark season opened on June 1, LDWF keeps the state fishery closed to commercial shark harvest from April 1 to June 30 each year in order to protect shark pups and pupping females.

NOAA estimates the landings for small coastal sharks from Maine to Mexico to be 226,112 lb. The small coastal shark landings in Louisiana are extremely low annually.

The federal commercial season for small coastal sharks will remain closed until the start of the 2011 season, which is determined by NOAA, and opens 30 days after the opening date for the season is publicized in the federal register. LDWF will determine the 2011 state waters in conjunction with the federal season.

No personal shall purchase, barter, trade or exchange shark in excess of the designated trip limits, or from any person who does not possess a commercial state shark permit or federal commercial directed or incidental limited access or federal shark research permits, if applicable.

Vessels that possess a federal shark research permit may continue to operate under the permit’s conditions, including NOAA Fisheries observers aboard the vessel for the duration of the trip, until the federal shark research fishery quota is met.

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 Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-311

St. Bernard Parish Man Arrested By L.D.W.F. Agents For Falsifying Commercial Fishing Information

Release Date: 11/15/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) arrested a St. Bernard Parish man on Nov. 15 for allegedly falsifying commercial fishing catch information submitted to the department.

Glenn J. Cascio Jr., 30, of Arabi, allegedly falsified 16 trip ticket documents dated from Jan. 1, 2010 through May 3, 2010 in order to file a claim with BP America due to the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Cascio was charged with three felonies for filing false public records, injuring public records and theft by fraud and was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. The trip tickets were filed with LDWF and represented 43,264 pounds of crab at a value of $38,570. According to the arrest warrant, Cascio stated that he received a total of $10,000 from BP America.

SIU agents, Lt. Jay Diez and Senior Agent Edward Ridgel, met with Cascio on Nov. 6 after receiving a complaint from the department's trip ticket section that Cascio did not possess a commercial fishing license during the timeframe specified on the trip tickets. According to the arrest warrant, Cascio admitted to not catching or selling any crab from Jan. 1 to May 3 and that he falsified the trip ticket information in order to file a claim with BP America.

If convicted, Cascio faces fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail with or without hard labor for each charge of falsifying and injuring public records. For the fraud charge, Cascio faces a fine up to $3,000 and up to 10 years in jail with or without hard labor.

LDWF routinely reviews every trip ticket received from the commercial fishing industry to ensure that the most accurate data are collected and properly reflect the important role the state of Louisiana plays in the production of seafood and the management of the state's seafood resources.

"We want to ensure our commercial fishermen and dealers are compensated fairly by using accurate trip ticket information," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division. "We do not want to see commercial fishermen or dealers tempted to commit felony violations by falsifying trip ticket documents, which can damage the basis of having the best scientific information available to manage the seafood resources."

This is the fifth arrest made by LDWF agents in connection with allegedly falsifying commercial fishing information to receive compensations from BP America since August.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov. 

2010-309

LDWF Mississippi Delta - reopening line for shrimp, finfish and crab commercial fishing.

Commercial fishing has been re-opened in that portion of state inside and outside territorial waters seaward of a line beginning at Pass a Loutre, at:

29o12’35”N 89o01’05”W, going south to
29o11’35”N 89o01’10”W, then west southwest to
29o11’10”N 89o02’00”W, then west southwest to
29o11’00”N 89o02’25”W, then south southwest to
29o08’55”N 89o06’15”W, then east southeast to
29o08’15”N 89o02’10”W, then south southwest to
29o04’50”N 89o04’10”W, then north northwest to
29o06’00”N 89o06’00”W, then south southwest to
28o59’35”N 89o08’00”W, then south southwest to
28o59’15”N 89o08’15”W, then south southwest to
28o58’20”N 89o10’00”W, then north northwest to
29o02’40”N 89o16’20”W, then south southwest to
28o54’40”N 89o25’00’W at Southwest Pass

This also includes those waters within:

North Pass west of 89o01’05”W,
Pass a Loutre west of 89o02’00”W,
Northeast Pass west of 89o02’10”W,
Southeast Pass west of 89o04’10”W,
South Pass west of 89o08’00”W and
Southwest Pass east of 89o25’00”W

Please see the provided map for additional information.
 

LDWF Reopens Commercial Crab Fishing in Mississippi River Delta

Release Date: 11/08/2010

LDWF Reopens Commercial Crab Fishing in Mississippi River Delta
LDWF Reopens Commercial Crab Fishing in Mississippi River Delta

Reopening effective immediately; 98.5% of state waters reopened for commercial fishing

Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ordered an emergency reopening of commercial crabbing in portions of state inside and outside territorial waters within the Mississippi River Delta previously closed due to the BP oil spill.
LDWF Secretary Robert Barham ordered this opening following the completion of comprehensive testing by the FDA. The FDA has advised that following extensive sensory testing and analytical chemistry results, the crab tissue samples tested from these previously closed areas are safe for consumption.

Commercial crab fishing reopens immediately today, November 8, 2010. The reopening includes portions of state waters extending seaward a minimum distance of one-quarter mile or more from the shoreline between the northern shore of Pass a Loutre and 29 degrees 12 minutes 40 seconds north latitude and the western shore of Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River and 89 degrees 25 minutes 00 seconds west longitude. For a detailed description of the latitude and longitude lines for which the reopening applies, click here.

Recreational and commercial fishing for shrimp and finfish were previously opened in these waters on October 28. The harvest of oysters is regulated by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; harvesting areas remain closed in portions of these waters.

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 Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov. 

Documents: 

Louisiana Environmental Education Commission November Agenda

Release Date: 11/08/2010

Meeting Agenda
November 10, 2010
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
Baton RougeOffice, Louisiana Room
1 PM

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll Call/Sign-in
  3. Introduction
  4. Minutes from last meeting
  5. Financial Report
  6. Coordinator’s Report
  7. Old Business
    1. 2011 Symposium Committee reports
      1. Audio Visual
      2. Door Prize/Hospitality
      3. Evaluation
      4. Exhibitor
      5. Finance
      6. Keynote
      7. Lodging Assistance
      8. Programs
      9. Public Relations
      10. Registration
    2. Environmental Literacy Plan
  8. New Business
    1. 2011 Environmental Awareness Art & Language Arts Contest
    2. 2011 Grants Program
    3. LEEC vote of officers
  9. Announcements
    1. 2011 Calendars are ready for pick up
  10. Next Meeting Dates: February 12, 2011 (at Symposium), May 10, 2011, August 9, 2011
  11. Adjournment   

For more information, please contact Venise Ortego at 337-948-0255 or vortego@wlf.la.gov.

Tiger Prawn

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has received reports and actual specimens of GIANT TIGER PRAWNS or Penaeus monodon, a non-native species of shrimp in Vermilion and Barataria Bays.

This species of shrimp is native to the Western Pacific. If a population were established in our waterways, they may pose a threat to our native shrimp species. Giant Tiger Prawns are characterized by their distinct dark and white bands. If you come across these shrimp in local waterways, you are encouraged to save the specimen (ice or refrigerate), record the location and contact an LDWF biologist at: (225) 765-2949.

Please contact:
Lousiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
(225) 765-2949

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