Fishing

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.

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 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.   

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 www.LaSaltwaterSeries.com.

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

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

State Rolls Out Nearly $8 Million to Seafood Dealers

Release Date: 02/15/2011

Feb. 15, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in coordination with the Office of Community Development (OCD) - Disaster Recovery Unit, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), began distributing nearly $8 million last month for the Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Grant Program, a federally funded program aimed at aiding certain fisheries-related businesses that were affected by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

“Our fishing communities have spent the last five years battling back from disaster after disaster. Each time, they find a way to rebuild and get back to work. This program is an incredible opportunity to help our fishing communities continue to recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We are grateful to our state and industry partners for helping us make distributing assistance funds a reality.”

The $8 million Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Grant Program was designed to assist certain fishery-related businesses that were in the industry in 2008 and currently remain in business. In order to qualify, businesses were required to provide supporting tax documentation and to be able to document a minimum $15,000 tangible loss or decline in business. Once grant qualifications were met, applicants became eligible for a grant of the amount of their loss, not to exceed $100,000.

“The fishing and seafood industry is a vital part of Louisiana’s economy, and the state is committed to helping local fishermen continue to recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater. “The funds from the Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Program, along with the upcoming grants through the Commercial Fisheries Program, will help Louisiana’s fisherman and help boost seafood businesses.”

Louisiana also created a Commercial Fisherman Grant Program to assist Louisiana fishermen who held a commercial fishing license in 2008, are still licensed, and continue to recover from the impacts of hurricanes Gustav and Ike. It is anticipated this program will begin in early March.

"The Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority under the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry was already set up to help distribute relief funds for our agricultural producers," LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain said. "We were asked to help LDWF and LAFA was the perfect fund-distribution mechanism for the program. We got the money in the hands of seafood dealers quickly and efficiently."

Individuals who held both a Wholesale/Retail Dealer license and a Commercial Fishing license were only allowed to participate in one program.

Both programs are funded using Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) funds, which were set aside for aid to the fishing industry after it suffered more than $750 million in losses in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita Gustav and Ike. In total, Louisiana received more than $1 billion in CDBG funding for recovery from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, most of which the state has allocated directly to parishes for community recovery activities.

LDWF, OCD and LDAF hosted a series of outreach meetings during the spring of 2010 in coastal communities to provide more information to interested individuals.

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.

The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.

For more information from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, please contact Laura Deslatte at (225)610-2363 or at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov. For more information from the Office of Community Development, please contact Christina Stephens at (225) 603-3896 or Christina.stephens@la.gov. For more information from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, please contact Sam Irwin at (225) 922-1256 or sirwin@ldaf.state.la.us

Commercial King Mackerel Season to Close Friday

Release Date: 02/09/2011

Feb. 9, 2011 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the commercial season for king mackerel will close in state water this Friday, February 11, at noon. The decision was made by LDWF Secretary Robert Barham, based on data gathered by LDWF and National Marine Fisheries Service biologists, anticipating the set quota of approximately 1 million pounds had been met.

The National Marine Fisheries Service will also close the commercial season for king mackerel in federal waters on Friday at noon.

The season is expected to resume on July 1, 2011.

On average, Louisiana lands approximately 90 percent of the quota set for king mackerel in the western Gulf of Mexico. A significant portion of the species landed in Louisiana is shipped to markets in northeast United States.

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

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

LDWF Works with Local Parish to Remove Abandoned Crab Traps

Release Date: 02/08/2011

Closure Map

Feb 8, 2011 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has authorized an emergency crab trap closure over an eight day period, from 6 a.m. February 26, 2011 through 6 a.m. March 5, 2011, in a portion of Plaquemines Parish west of the Mississippi River.

All crab traps must be removed from the designated area during the closure period. Any remaining crab traps within the closure area will be considered abandoned and subject to removal.

Removing derelict crab traps from fishing grounds reduces navigational risks and threats to public safety, while potentially increasing the number of crabs available for harvest, by preventing crab mortalities in abandoned, out-of-use traps.

Since 2004, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, together with local volunteers, has successfully removed and disposed of more than 18,000 abandoned and derelict crab traps.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, please contact Martin Bourgeois with LDWF at (225) 765-2401 or mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or visit the Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program website at www.derelictcrabtrap.net.

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 please contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363. 

Documents: 

Public Hearing on Lake Caney, Jan. 31

Release Date: 01/27/2011

LDWF officials will discuss vegetation issues, sampling results

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold a public hearing on Caney Lake issues, including an overview of vegetation issues and current sampling results. LDWF established a management plan for Caney Lake in 2006, which provides annual public hearings to update the public on ongoing projects. Current issues include stocking of Florida bass, control of aquatic vegetation and fish population sampling.

Who: LDWF Officials

What: Public Hearing on Caney Lake

When: January 31, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Jimmie Davis State Park
  Group Camp building
  1209 State Park Road
  Chatham, LA 71226

For more information, contact Evan Thames (318)339-4282 or Jesse Bahm at(318)343-4045.

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