Fishing

Oyster Season to Close Early in East Side of Calcasieu Lake

Release Date: 03/22/2011

March 22, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham issued an emergency order to close the oyster season in the east side of Calcasieu Lake (DHH Harvest Area 29) at one-half hour after sunset on Friday, March 25, 2011.

The season was previously set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to remain open until April 30, 2011, except for the 2009 cultch plant, but the commission gave authority for an early closure to Secretary Barham in order to protect and conserve the public oyster resource.

LDWF Office of Fisheries biologists have monitored the health of the public oyster resource throughout the oyster season, which opened on November 15, 2010, through biological sampling and harvest tracking. LDWF monitoring activities have determined that the public oyster resources have sustained heavy harvest pressure and continued harvest may threaten the long-term sustainability of the remaining oyster resources.

Within the past week, LDWF enforcement agents have encountered numerous oyster harvesting violations within harvest area 29. As a result, agents have seized oysters and fishing equipment.

An early closure of these public oyster seed grounds will help protect the remaining oyster resources and help sustain that resource for the future. This early closure is being announced in order to provide the oyster industry with as much prior notice as possible.

The west side of the Calcasieu Lake public oyster area (DHH Harvest Area 30) is scheduled to remain open to the harvest of oysters until April 30, 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 or (225)765-5113. 

LDWF Investigates Two New Reports of Oiling

Release Date: 03/21/2011

LDWF conducts sampling on oil slick south of Grand Isle and impacted shoreline at Elmer’s Island

March 21, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is investigating two reports of oiling off the Louisiana coast received this weekend. Samples are being collected and analyzed by Louisiana State University’s School of the Coast and Environment.

Saturday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard received reports of an oil sheen south of Grand Isle, La. In addition to an investigation ongoing by the Coast Guard, LDWF officials are sampling the suspected oil sheen for analysis and fingerprinting. Samples taken by LDWF are being submitted to a laboratory at LSU’s School of the Coast and Environment. Analysis will determine if the substance is oil and, if so, if it is from the Deepwater Horizon MC252 oil spill; this analysis is called fingerprinting. Results from this analysis will be available tomorrow, Tuesday, March 22.

Suspected oiling was also reported to LDWF officials this weekend at Elmer’s Island, a 230-acre tract of barrier beachfront located on the southwestern tip of Jefferson Parish, and at Fourchon Beach in Lafourche Parish.

Samples from suspected oil at Elmer’s were collected by LDWF officials on Sunday afternoon and are being analyzed by the same laboratory at LSU’s School of the Coast and Environment. Results from the analysis will also be available tomorrow.

State officials are on scene at Elmer's Island with sorbents, barges and air boats as response efforts are conducted. LDWF officials this weekend requested absorbent boom from the Coast Guard for impacted areas. While only a portion of the boom has been utilized along a breach of the shoreline at Elmer’s Island, 12,000 feet of boom is on site. State officials have also requested skimmers from the Coast Guard.

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 atwww.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information on, please contact Olivia Watkins at (225)610-8660 or atowatkins@wlf.la.gov.  

Crab Task Force Scheduled to Meet March 24, 2011

Release Date: 03/21/2011

March 21, 2011 - The Louisiana Crab Task Force will meet Thursday, March 24 at 4:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. The agenda for Thursday’s meeting in the Louisiana Room is as follows:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Roll Call
  3. Approval of Minutes / Agenda
  4. Receive Public Comments
  5. Update on Louisiana Sea Grant’s NFWF Derelict Trap Removal Grant Proposal
  6. Results of Dispersant Toxicity Study on Blue Brab Megalopae and Juveniles
  7. Research Findings of a 2010 Blue Crab Megalopae Settlement Study and Potential Population Dynamics Implications
  8. Trade Adjustment Assistance Program for Crab Fishermen
  9. Status of Derelict Crab Trap Removal and Crab Promotion and Marketing Accounts
  10. Update on Fisheries Disaster Assistance Programs
  11. Update on MSC Certification of the Blue Crab Fishery
  12. Proposed Legislation to allow for Travel Reimbursement for Crab Task Force members
  13. Proposal to Increase Minimum Harvest Size for Blue Crabs
  14. Other Business
  15. Next Meeting / Agenda
  16. Adjournment

For more information on the Task Force, contact Carl Britt at 985-882-0027 or cbritt@wlf.la.gov.

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. 

L.D.W.F. Agents Cite Eight Louisianans for Oyster Violations

Release Date: 03/21/2011

March 21, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited eight Louisiana individuals for alleged oyster violations on March 18 in Calcasieu Lake in Cameron Parish.

Agents cited Arthur Rene Guidry, 34, of Lake Charles; Casey Ray Richard, 25, of Sulphur; Kenneth Rammie Levergne, 53, of Sulphur; Misty L. Wood, 35, of Sulphur; Jimmy Leslie Constance III, 30, of Hackberry; Robert Scott Dupre, 39, of Sulphur; Jimmy Don Hammett, 57, of Sulphur; and Joseph Swire, 29, of Sulphur; for unlawfully taking oysters from state water bottoms in Calcasieu Lake.

Agents also cited Guidry, Constance III and Hammett for failing to display proper numbers on an oyster vessel.

Agents observed four oyster vessels engaged in harvesting oysters in a closed area on the lake. The vessels and occupants were escorted back to the landing where all eight of the fishermen were cited for the violations and released.

Agents seized the four vessels and dredges and returned the oysters to the water.

Unlawfully taking oysters from state water bottoms carries a fine between $400 and $950, or jail time up to 120 days or both plus court costs and forfeiture of anything seized. Failing to display proper numbers on an oyster vessel brings a $50 fine or jail time up to 15 days.

Agents participating in the case were Lt. Remy Broussard, Senior Agents Beau Robertson, Sean Moreau and Carl Pickett and Agent Cody Soileau.

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

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
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