Fishing

Three Men Cited for Shark Violations in Federal Waters

Release Date: 03/18/2011

March 18, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents assigned to the statewide strike force cited three men fishing violations in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on March 17.

Agents cited James Braddock, 32, of Empire; Anthony Pellegrini, 25, of Pearl River; and Andrew Prest, 60, of Buras; for possessing 67 blacktip sharks in federal waters without the required Federal Shark Permit. The limit for large coastal sharks per trip and per day is 33.

Violating shark regulations brings a $100 to $350 fine, or up to 60 days in jail or both. Failing to comply with federal law in the Exclusive Economic Zone carries a fine from $900 to $950, or up to 120 days in jail or both.

Agents involved in the case were Senior Agent Michael Williams, Agent Cody Soileau and Agent Charles Talbert.

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

LDWF Schedules Public Meetings to Discuss Proposed Regulation Changes

Release Date: 03/16/2011

Anglers are encouraged to provide their input regarding changes to Louisiana and Texas’s bordering waters

March 16, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will host three public meetings to present proposed recreational harvest regulations for freshwater game fish on the waters of the Toledo Bend Reservoir, Caddo Lake and Sabine River. The proposed regulations were developed in an effort to establish uniform regulations governing Louisiana and Texas’s bordering waters.

Public comment will be taken on all items under consideration by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission through May 5. The meeting dates and locations include:

  • April 4 at 7 p.m., SRA Office, 15091 Texas Hwy, Many, LA
  • April 5 at 7 p.m., LDWF Office, 9961 Hwy. 80, Minden, LA 
  • April 7 at 7 p.m., LSU Ag Center, 7101 Gulf Hwy, Lake Charles, LA

To view the full notice of intent and all proposed regulations changes, visit our website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/proposedregulations. Public comment will be accepted through May 5 and can be submitted directly to Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov, or by mail at P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000.

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.

Grass Carp Used to Combat Aquatic Weeds

Release Date: 03/15/2011

5,000 Triploid Grass Carp stocked into Spring Bayou in Avoyelles Parish

March 15, 2011 - Biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recently stocked Spring Bayou with triploid grass carp as part of a continued effort to help control unwanted aquatic vegetation.

This is the second installment of grass carp into this complex of shallow sloughs, bayous and lakes. A stocking of 11,000 carp was made in early 2008. Unfortunately, desired results were not achieved due to the effects of Hurricane Gustav that included extensive fish kills.

Aquatic vegetation control in the system was once naturally achieved by water level fluctuations of the Red River, but a dam installed on Little River in 1955 stabilized water levels and curtailed backwater flooding. The absence of water fluctuation, combined with the introduction of the invasive aquatic plant hydrilla, has created the need for extensive control measures.

Dredging, water manipulation and herbicides have all been used with limited success.

Control by use of grass carp was reserved until all other methods were given ample opportunity.

While use of a biological control measure is an attractive alternative to drawdowns or the long-terms use of expensive herbicides, success using this control method is variable. Potential flood events may allow many of the stocked carp to escape the system.

Triploid grass carp are sterile, thus eliminating the concern of the species forming breeding populations in the Spring Bayou or neighboring water systems. However, the risk is that remaining numbers may not be adequate to control the vegetation problem. “At this stage, when boaters aren’t even able to use the complex, we’re willing to try it,” said Mike Wood, LDWF Director of Inland Fisheries.

The stocking was a cooperative effort of the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury, Spring Bayou Restoration Team and Avoyelles Wildlife Federation. The effort received strong support from Sen. Eric LaFleur and Rep. Robert Johnson.

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.

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 
228.875.5912
amiller@gsmfc.org 
Sabrina Lovell
NOAA Economist
301.713.2328 x101
2011NES@noaa.gov

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 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.

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 http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH’s blog at www.myhealthla.org, Twitter at http://twitter.com/La_Health_Dept 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 www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, contact Olivia Watkins, LDWF, (225) 610-8660 owatkins@wlf.la.gov or Ken Pastorick, DHH, (225) 342-1881 ken.pastorick@la.gov .

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 www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb 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 owatkins@wlf.la.gov (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 www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For editorial questions, please contact Olivia Watkins at (225)210-8660 or at owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

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