Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and NOAA Begin Regional Survey of the Economic Contributions of Saltwater Angling

Release Date: 03/09/2011

March 7, 2011 - The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC) and NOAA are surveying saltwater anglers across the Gulf of Mexico to update and improve estimates of the overall economic contributions of saltwater recreational fishing to the Gulf and U.S. economy. This study is part of the 2011 National Marine Recreational Fishing Expenditure Survey.

“This is the kind of new and enhanced information that will help several levels of recreational fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Larry Simpson, GSMFC Executive Director.

NOAA, GSMFC, and the saltwater angling community need timely economic data to help evaluate the economic importance of recreational fishing activities. The data will give a more updated look at the economic effects of fishing regulations and changes in the ecosystem caused by natural or manmade events such as the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. The information gathered in the survey will contribute to more informed decisions on a variety of recreational fishing issues.

NOAA and the GSMFC will survey a random sampling of the approximately 3 million saltwater anglers in the five Gulf states and Puerto Rico. The survey will include a random sampling of people who fish from shore, docks, party or charter boats and privately owned boats. Surveying began in January and will continue throughout the year in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico. It will begin in Texas in March and April. This is NOAA’s and GSMFC’s second survey focusing on how much saltwater anglers spend on their sport throughout the Gulf region.

GSMFC and its state partners will ask anglers how long their fishing trips last and how much they spend on bait, boat fuel, ice, charter fees and other expenses. Anglers will also be asked to participate in a follow-up survey that will ask them to estimate what they spent on durable goods such as boats and fishing tackle used for saltwater angling for the previous 12 months. Those who participate in both parts of the survey will help NOAA and GSMFC produce accurate economic information.

Economists from NOAA’s Fisheries Service and the GSMFC as well as state partners are assisting with the 2011 survey. Once the economic data are collected, they will be analyzed and released as a NOAA report. The most recent economic study in 2008 showed that anglers’ expenditures generated more than $12 billion in sales and supported more than 113,000 jobs throughout the Gulf region.

The GSMFC’s principal objectives include the conservation, development, and full utilization of the fishery resources of the Gulf of Mexico in order to provide food, employment, income, and recreation to the people of these United States.

CONTACT: Alex Miller
GSMFC Economist 
Sabrina Lovell
NOAA Economist
301.713.2328 x101

Louisiana and Texas Establish Consistent Regulations for Recreational Fishing on Shared Waters

Release Date: 03/04/2011

Changes to become effective September 1, 2011

March 4, 2011 - In a historic move, Louisiana and Texas will soon adopt consistent recreational fishing regulations governing their bordering waters. Biologists from the two states have agreed upon regulations that are biologically sound and consistent on both sides of the boundary.

“This monumental event results from cooperation between the two states along with the support of state Rep. James Armes,” said Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “Our department is committed to working with our state partners to provide a better fishing experience for Louisiana anglers.”

The two states share waters along most of their common border, supporting excellent recreational fisheries and attracting thousands of anglers each year. The line between the two states follows the Old Sabine River down through the middle of Toledo Bend, so anglers currently must abide by two sets of laws.

The potential for error for even the most conscientious angler is extremely high. For example, an angler with a legal fish in Louisiana can simply drift over the state line into Texas waters and be in violation of their regulations. Unfortunately, many anglers have been cited because of the unnecessary confusion.

The Texas Wildlife Commission has approved a Notice of Intent to make necessary changes on their end. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has now given official notice they intend to make the necessary changes for Louisiana.

Anglers are encouraged to provide their input regarding the changes. Louisiana public hearings will be scheduled in the Minden, Many and Lake Charles areas. Meeting dates and specific locations are being finalized and will be released soon.

With positive public approval and passage by both the Texas and Louisiana Commissions, the regulations are to be implemented on September 1, 2011.

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

For more information contact Ashley Wethey at (225)765-5113.

DHH to Allow Oyster Harvesting in Previously Closed Oyster Area of Calcasieu Lake

Release Date: 03/03/2011

DHH to Allow Oyster Harvesting in Previously Closed Oyster Area of Calcasieu Lake


Please note that the previous version of this news release omitted media contacts found below.

March 3, 2011 - Officials with the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries signed orders this week to allow oyster harvesting in an 11,993 acre area of Calcasieu Lake, which previously had high fecal coliform counts. Recent tests conducted by DHH have shown the levels of fecal coliform are now below levels of any concern for health. The 11,993 acres is in the southern half of Calcasieu Lake and is part of oyster harvest Area 29.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham, DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the order this week to allow harvesting there effective one half hour prior to official sunrise March 4.

Area 29 is a conditionally managed oyster harvest area. Conditionally managed harvest areas have a set season which runs from October 15th through April 30th. The season is set due to Calcasieu river stages.

The majority of Louisiana’s 30 oyster harvest areas are open right now. Harvest Area 8, near the mouth of the Mississippi river remains closed due to high fecal coliform levels. Area 12 is partially open as crews continue cleanup of the oil spill.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH’s blog at, Twitter at and search for the Louisiana Department of Health and
Hospitals on Facebook.

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

For more information, contact Olivia Watkins, LDWF, (225) 610-8660 or Ken Pastorick, DHH, (225) 342-1881 .

Governor Jindal Announces State Investing $12 Million in Emergency Restoration Funding for Louisiana Coast, Not Waiting for BP

Release Date: 03/01/2011

March 1, 2011 - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined coastal parish leaders and members of the fishing and oyster industries to announce $12 million in emergency restoration funding to help Louisiana’s coastline recover from the effects of the BP oil spill. This funding total includes $2 million to reestablish oyster beds in public seed grounds, $5 million for shoreline stabilization by engineered shoreline reefs, and $5 million to reestablish vegetation and sand fencing for approximately ten miles of oil-impacted shoreline. 

The Governor stressed that the state has repeatedly requested emergency restoration funding from BP to reestablish oyster beds, plant vegetation killed by oil and stabilize eroding shorelines resulting from the spill – but BP has refused to provide upfront funding for these efforts. 

Governor Jindal said, “We have met with BP on many occasions. Indeed, we have repeatedly requested emergency restoration funding from BP to reestablish oyster beds, plant vegetation killed by oil and stabilize eroding shorelines resulting from the spill. But, time and time again, BP has refused to front funding for these critical emergency restoration efforts. Today, yet again, we are here to tell BP that we need action, not talk. Just like during the response to the oil spill, when we were promised resources and assistance that always seemed to be too little, too late – today, we are again here to take our own action and not let more of our oystermen, fishermen, families, communities or businesses suffer as we wait for BP to act.

“That’s why we are announcing today that we are moving forward to immediately dedicate $12 million in funding toward emergency restoration actions to help our people and industries get back on their feet after this environmental catastrophe. We expect all $12 million to be replenished by BP as soon as they ‘make it right’ with our coastal communities by fully covering losses from this tragic spill. Today’s announcement is just the first step and much more work needs to be done by BP to ensure our coast is fully restored. I have no doubt that we will come back from the effects of this spill stronger than ever before. But, we cannot afford to wait. Our recovery demands action, and we are taking an important step toward restoring our coast today. We urge BP to follow our lead and replenish these funds as quickly as possible.”

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham said, “For months we’ve spoken with BP about the need to invest in our recovery now, but they’ve continued to stall by only promising funds if the state will release everyone they’ve ever done business with from any kind of liability. That’s not the way to help Louisiana recover. It isn’t enough for them to spend millions of dollars on TV and radio commercials talking about doing the right thing, they must follow through. Working with the governor, we doing what BP should have done months ago; we are investing $2 million in oyster cultch now to help our Louisiana seafood industry get back to providing healthy, delicious oysters to consumers across the country. Rather than doing further damage by holding up negotiations, we want to see BP step forward and fulfill their promises to ‘make it right.’”

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said, “This investment in our coastal areas will go a long way in getting our coastline back to 100 percent. Even though BP and the federal government continue to drag their feet in processing claims, fighting the oil and restoring our way of life – I’m glad we have a state government that moves with a sense of urgency in providing our costal communities funding for revitalizing the coast and supporting our fishermen and oystermen.”

St. Bernard Parish President Craig P. Taffaro said, “We welcome the opportunity to partner with our state’s leadership in order to facilitate an ambitious intervention to slow the oil impacts from the BP disaster. St. Bernard Parish will continue to stand with our local and state partners at the forefront of this recovery to hold BP accountable until the cleaning and restoring of Louisiana’s coast is complete and the commercial fishing industry is protected.”

Jefferson Parish President John F. Young, Jr. said, “We expect BP to do the right thing, but we cannot wait any longer. We must take it upon ourselves to help our oyster industry, protect and restore our shoreline, and continue to work toward our overall recovery. We will take care of those who have lost the most, and we will hold BP accountable.”

Terrebonne Parish President Michel H Claudet said, “Generations upon generations of families have lived in our coastal areas and this oil spill put their futures in great danger. The effects of the oil spill are still being felt along our fragile coastal line. I urge our counterparts within the federal government to help our coastal communities rebound from this crisis. For all of our challenges, I applaud the Governor for moving dollars as quickly as possible and investing in our coastal areas so we can keep our communities thriving and vibrant."

Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph said, "The oil spill happened almost a year ago, and yet our fishermen and oil and gas workers are still feeling the impacts. Fortunately today, our governor is doing what BP should have done long ago: funding the restoration of our wetlands and coastal life. These dollars are investments in our communities, and we will continue to work with the Governor to press BP to make us right."

Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle said, “This commitment of funds by Governor Jindal will work to rebuild the habitat of our coastline and support area communities. Our coastal regions depend on what comes from these waters, so these will be well-spent funds as we all do our part in rebuilding our image and coastal economy."

Jean Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner said, "It's no secret we haven't received the help we need for what BP did to our coast. Between the oil spill, the moratorium and the new rules for drilling, it seems like we've been under attack from all angles. I'm glad the Governor worked with his coastal and legal folks to get some of the funding we'll need to repair our wetlands and wildlife."

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Chairman Mike Voisin said, “The immediate availability of these funds are a great step forward in helping the oyster community in Louisiana recover from the challenges of last year! We appreciate and applaud the Governor in stepping forward in utilizing these funds on an expedited basis to help with this much needed recovery effort. While we appreciate the Governors efforts, we continue to encourage BP to reimburse the State for these dollars spent and put forth additional dollars to further help in this oyster rehabilitation effort.”

Louisiana State Director National Wildlife Federation David P. Muth said, “The National Wildlife Federation supports efforts to jump start restoration initiatives that directly remediate damages from the BP oil spill. Projects that can begin in the near-term to stabilize damaged marsh shoreline along eroding bay edges, or protect islands where pelicans, roseate spoonbills and other water-birds nest, will help to offset the damage from the spill. We encourage the use of innovative natural techniques for shoreline protection, such as establishment of oyster reefs in the intertidal zone. Such techniques will prove more sustainable and cost effective than traditional methods, and should provide greatly enhanced ecosystem services. Long term monitoring and damage assessment are important tools for evaluating the effects of the spill and near-term remediation should not interfere with the process. But in areas where damage is acute and where valuable resources face imminent loss due to erosion, immediate protection and remediation may be warranted.”

The $2 million for oyster beds will come from funds in the Oyster Seed Ground Development Account. This is a Department of Wildlife and Fisheries account funded through compensation for impacts to public oyster seed grounds. This oyster seeding will include placing nearly 37,000 tons of cultch material to establish up to 200 acres of oyster beds on public seed grounds.

The $5 million for engineered shoreline reefs is from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s Emergency Reserve Account. More than 317 miles of Louisiana’s coastline is still impacted by oil and this $5 million in funding will enable the state to take immediate action to construct shoreline reefs that will help restore and protect the state’s coast as it recovers from oil spill damage.

With this funding, up to three miles of engineered shoreline reefs and other protective measures will be placed along the coast to stabilize the effects of the oil spill. Engineered shoreline reefs are similar to oyster seeding, because they are shaped to allow oysters to form on them and reproduce. They also serve to break waves and improve water quality, as oysters clean the water around them.

The $5 million for reestablishing vegetation and shoreline restoration comes from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). Funding is currently sitting in this program for projects that are stalled with federal studies, and the state will free up $5 million from the fund to reestablish vegetation and sand fencing over approximately 30 miles of coastal shoreline where oil has killed coastal plants and root systems that hold Louisiana’s coast together. 

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

Governor's Press Office: Melissa Sellers, Kyle Plotkin
Contact: 225-342-8006, (c) 225-328-3755

Contact Olivia Watkins, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheres, at (225) 765-2396.   

LDWF to Accept Grant Applications for Commercial Menhaden Bait Industry Recovery Projects

Release Date: 02/24/2011

February 24, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will accept applications for a grantto fund development of a commercial menhaden bait supply for Louisiana fishermen. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Grant, and theGulf States Marine Fisheries Commission have made available these project funds to aid the recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The supply of menhaden bait is a crucial component of the commercial fishing industry throughout Louisiana. The last menhaden bait supplier in Louisiana went out of business following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Currently, commercial fishermen must order menhaden bait from suppliers based in fisheries along the Atlantic coast. The increasing cost of bait, like menhaden, and fuel continue to make recovery for Louisiana’s fishing industry more difficult than ever. Ensuring the availability of a Louisiana-based menhaden supplier is an essential component of the commercial fishing industry’s recovery.

LDWF intends to award applicant(s) with the most developed business plans, competitive amounts of working capital, and experience for the purpose of establishing a locally harvested menhaden bait operation that will offer a continual supply of bait throughout the year. Award amount(s) will be subject to program allocation. All reasonable requests will be considered.

The deadline for submitting an application is March 15, 2011. To request more information or to receive an application packet, please contact Jason Froeba at (225) 765-0121.

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

For editorial questions, please contact Olivia Watkins at (225)210-8660 or at

LDWF's Management Efforts Result in Record Catches at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic

Release Date: 02/23/2011

Classic scheduled to return to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 2012

Feb. 21, 2011 - Across the state, anglers are landing trophy-size bass as a result of management efforts by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Bassmaster Classic competitors were no exception this past weekend as record stringers were brought to the scales. The heaviest weights were caught by tournament winner and bass fishing superstar, Kevin Van Dam.

Van Dam wowed the crowds with a cumulative weight of over 69 pounds, the heaviest ever in a Classic with a 5-fish daily limit. He primarily fished the waters of Lake Cataouatche, a popular fishing spot previously stocked by the LDWF with Florida largemouth bass.

Years ago, the freshwater lake fell on hard times after tropical storm systems pushed brackish water into the area. The lake’s productivity was minimal, especially in terms of a bass population. Through stocking efforts, in conjunction with fertile Mississippi River waters, through the Davis Pond Freshwater Diversion Project, the department was able to stimulate a productive ecosystem and generate a lively bass population in the lake. The spot’s productivity amazed even the best bass anglers in the world at this year’s Classic.

Throughout Louisiana, anglers routinely report trophy bass exceeding 10 pounds. This was not always the case. The department’s management efforts, including the Florida bass stocking program, are largely responsible for this surge in production.

Bass fishing opportunities in Louisiana rank in the top tier nationwide. However, it’s the diversity of fishing experiences that makes Louisiana special. The Louisiana Delta, site of the Bassmaster Classic is a great example. “Fishing in coastal Louisiana is an experience that’s unique from all other waters in the country,” said Mike Wood, LDWF’s Director of Inland Fisheries. “On any given cast, anglers can tangle with a red drum, flounder, and maybe even a trophy largemouth bass.

Perhaps this is the reason the Sportsman’s Paradise was selected as the host site for the Classic again in 2012. Shreveport will welcome the 42nd annual Bassmaster Classic next February.

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

For more information contact Ashley Wethey at (225) 765-5113.   

LDWF Hosts Second Annual Louisiana Saltwater Series Fishing Tournament

Release Date: 02/18/2011

More than 380 redfish already tagged; series features six rodeos, plus championship

Feb. 16, 2011 - The Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon return to the Gulf Coast for the tournament’s second year. Hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the series is dedicated to catch-and-release saltwater angling through a series of agency-sponsored fishing tournaments.

The series was developed by LDWF in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation to promote conservation of Louisiana’s saltwater sport fish resources, including one of Louisiana’s most valuable sport fish, redfish.

“This series is a critical part of ensuring the health and future of our natural resources and the coastal economy because it promotes the management and preservation of our redfish stocks for future generations,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.

Each series includes two-man teams with a $200 entry fee for each event. For teams consisting of three members, only two of the members may be 16 or older. The tournament is a 100 percent payout series. There is a 90 percent payout for the first six events with 10 percent retained for the championship. Payout is determined separately for each event based upon the total number of boats entered.

Participants may register online for the tournament at

This year, a youth division was established to introduce young anglers to the sport of fishing, and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation. Participants under 16 years of age will compete against one another in a separate category for trophy catch; all youth anglers will be recognized.

Data collected from tournament entries serve as valuable tools for LDWF fisheries managers and biologists to improve their understanding of marine sport fish movements, patterns of habitat use and estimate population size. Since 2004, over 15,000 redfish have been tagged through Louisiana’s Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program.

“Fish tagging can yield a wealth of information. Years ago, most tagging was done by scientists or trained biologists, but today recreational anglers are encouraged to join the effort as volunteers,” explained Pausina. “Utilizing volunteer taggers allows us to tag a greater number of fish from a wider geographic area.”

In last year’s series alone, anglers tagged a total of 380 fish. The recapture rate from the Slidell tournament was as high as 21 percent. Overall weight determined last year’s winners, with Richard Rutland taking home the monster catch of the series, a 9.66 lb red drum.

The 2011 series is comprised of six fishing events and a championship. Tournament locations are scheduled across the coast. The 2011 tournament schedule is as follows:

  • April 2 Lafitte, Seaway Marina; 
  • April 30 Lake Calcasieu, Calcasieu Point Landing; 
  • May 14 Venice, Venice Marina; 
  • June 18 Delacroix, Sweetwater Marina; 
  • July 23 Slidell, Dockside Bait and Tackle/The Dock; 
  • August 20 Port Fourchon, Moran’s Marina; and 
  • Championship October 7 and 8 Empire, The Delta Marina. 

Sponsorships for the Saltwater Series are still available. All sponsorship dollars will go towards the cost of planning, production and prize money.

For complete information, including rules, regulations and entry forms go to

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

For more information contact Ashley Wethey at (225) 765-5113.

Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to Meet Wednesday Feb. 16

Release Date: 02/15/2011

Feb. 15, 2011 – The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will meet tomorrow, February 16, 2011 at 1 p.m. at the UNO Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in Suite 210, in New Orleans.

The agenda for tomorrow’s meeting is as follows:

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call
  3. Approval of minutes from December 15, 2010
  4. Reports
    1. Guest Presentations
      1. Jeffry Zehnder- Zehnder Communications. Boston booth, new photography and social media update
      2. Mark Schexnayder-WLF- certification and traceability update. Disaster recovery grant programs update.
    2. Executive Directors Report
    3. Treasurers Report
      1. update on BP funds
  5. New Business
    1. Sub Committee discussion (Executive, Funding, Legislative, Education and Marketing).
    2. Boston Seafood Show
    3. Updates List of Events
    4. Samuel H. Green School and the edible garden
    5. School lunch programs
    6. Foodways Texas Symposium – Kim Chauvin
  6. Set Next Meeting
  7. Adjourn

This meeting is open to the public.

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

For more information contact Laura Deslatte at or (225) 610-2363.

Syndicate content