Fishing

L.D.W.F. Announces Fall Shrimp Season

Release Date: 08/04/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the fall inshore shrimp season will open in Shrimp Management Zones 1, 2 and 3 at 6 AM, Monday, August 16.  Season dates were approved today by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, following public comment and recommendations presented by Office of Fisheries biologists.

The closing date was also set by the commission for these waters at sunset December 21, 2010 except for the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double-rig line (LA R.S.56:495.1(A)2) which will remain open to shrimping until 6 AM March 31, 2011.

Zone 1 includes Louisiana waters from the Mississippi border to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River.  Zone 2 extends from to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island and Zone 3 extends from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Texas border.

Due to the ongoing effects associated the Deepwater Horizon incident, certain delineated areas within the Pontchartrain, Barataria and Terrebonne Basins will remain closed to all commercial fishing, including shrimp harvesting, until further notice.

Louisiana is the number one domestic producer of shrimp with 2009 landings totaling over 100 million pounds, with a dockside value of $118 million.

For more information, contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or 225.765.2335

2010-235

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Announces Opening of Seatrout Season

Release Date: 08/04/2010

Today the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced the commercial season for the harvest of spotted seatrout will open on August 15, 2010.  This fishery is set to remain open until the maximum annual quota is reached, or on the date projected by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that the quota will be reached, or until sunset on Friday December 31, 2010, whichever comes first.

Act 979 of the 2010 Louisiana Regular Legislative Session modified the season for the commercial harvest of spotted seatrout using a commercial rod and reel.

Also included in Act 979, and effective with the implementation of that act and these rules, the commercial taking or commercial harvesting of spotted sea trout shall be prohibited within Louisiana waters west of the Mermentau River.

For more information, contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or 225.765.2335

2010-236

Chauvin Man Arrested by LDWF Agents for Falsifying Trip Tickets

Release Date: 08/04/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) arrested a Chauvin man today, Aug. 5 for allegedly falsifying trip ticket information and are transporting him to the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.
Jessie Lambas, 58, allegedly falsified trip ticket documents dated from May and June of 2009 in order to file a claim with BP America due to the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Lambas was charged with three felonies for filing false public records, injuring public records and theft by fraud.  The trip tickets were filed with LDWF on May 27 and represented 5,644 pounds of shrimp with a value of $10,237.50.  Lambas stated that he received three payments from BP America totaling $3,000 from May 24 to July 14.
SIU agents met with Lambas on July 26 and 31 after receiving a complaint from the department's trip ticket section that Lambas did not possess a commercial fishing license in 2009.  Lambas does have a wholesale/retail seafood dealer’s license that allows him access to trip tickets issued to the wholesale/retail seafood dealer.
Lambas stated that he filed trip tickets from 2010, but the department does not have any record of issuing Lambas trip tickets in 2010 according to the arrest warrant.  The warrant also states that the trip tickets under question match the 50 trip tickets that he was issued in 2008.
If convicted, Lambas faces fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail with or without hard labor for each charge of falsifying and injuring public records.  For the fraud charge, Lambas faces a fine up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in jail with or without hard labor.
"We want to ensure our commercial fishermen and dealers are compensated fairly by using accurate trip ticket information," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "We do not want to see commercial fishermen or dealers tempted to commit felony violations by falsifying trip ticket documents."
LDWF routinely reviews every trip ticket received from the commercial fishing industry to ensure that the most accurate data are collected and properly reflect the important role the state of Louisiana plays in the production of seafood.
These reviews are critical to ensure that commercial fishermen and wholesale/retail dealers are appropriately credited with landings in the event of compensation that results from a natural disaster such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and the current BP America oil spill.
BP America is requesting commercial fishermen to provide landings information from 2007-10 to determine eligibility for financial assistance.  LDWF is providing a landings data report back to commercial fishermen, when requested, to assist with this eligibility process.
The review of trip tickets has become even more critical during this time period considering that the previous years are being used to establish eligibility for assistance.  Any trip tickets from previous years are being subjected to another layer of review by LDWF staff to confirm their validity.
"The information provided on a trip ticket is the best way for the department to establish the value of Louisiana fisheries and the importance of those fisheries to the nation.  Trip ticket data also plays a key role in the managing of fisheries in Louisiana to ensure sustainability," said Michelle Kasprzak, LDWF Trip Ticket Program administrator.  "We ask that trip tickets be completed accurately and submitted on time as required.  Inaccurate or embellished trip tickets will be investigated by the department's Law Enforcement Division."
Trip tickets are filled out at the first point of sale between a commercial fisherman and wholesale/retail dealer or fresh product license holder and are due on the 10th of every month.  Trip tickets are then entered into LDWFs Trip Ticket Program's database.
Commercial fishermen and wholesale/retail dealers may request their trip ticket landings by following the instructions on the LDWF Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill or calling the trip ticket section at 225-765-2399.
 For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.
2010-238

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Two Men for Falsifying Trip Ticket Documents

Release Date: 08/03/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) arrested two New Iberia men on Aug. 3 for allegedly falsifying trip ticket information and booked them into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

An Ly, 36, owner of Ly Ly Seafood, and Samith Huynh, 31, allegedly falsified trip ticket documents from January through April of this year in order to file a claim with BP America due to the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Ly and Huynh were charged for filing false public records and injuring public records.  Huynh was also charged with theft by fraud, and Ly was charged with conspiracy to commit theft by fraud.  All charges against the men are classified as felonies.

The trip tickets were filed with LDWF on June 15 and July 7 and represented 6,347 pounds of crabs with a value of $9,548.91.

SIU agents met with Ly and Huynh on July 28 after receiving a complaint from the department's trip ticket section.  According to the arrest warrant, both men admitted they did not sell or purchase any crabs after agents told the men that Huynh did not possess a commercial fishing license from January through April of this year.  Huynh did purchase his commercial fishing license at the department in May.

Ly stated that he signed and mailed the trip tickets to LDWF headquarters in Baton Rouge after Huynh filled them out.  Huynh stated that he received checks from BP America for $5,000 in May and $5,000 in June according to the arrest warrant.

If convicted, both could face fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail with or without hard labor for each charge of falsifying and injuring public records.  For the conspiracy to commit theft by fraud and theft by fraud charges, both face fines up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in jail with or without hard labor.

"We want to ensure our commercial fishermen and dealers are compensated fairly by using accurate trip ticket information," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "We do not want to see commercial fishermen or dealers tempted to commit felony violations by falsifying trip ticket documents."

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

These reviews are critical to ensure that commercial fishermen and wholesale/retail dealers are appropriately credited with landings in the event of compensation that results from a natural disaster such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and the current BP America oil spill.

BP America is requesting commercial fishermen to provide landings information from 2007-10 to determine eligibility for financial assistance.  LDWF is providing a landings data report back to commercial fishermen, when requested, to assist with this eligibility process.

The review of trip tickets has become even more critical during this time period considering that the previous years are being used to establish eligibility for assistance.  Any trip tickets from previous years are being subjected to another layer of review by LDWF staff to confirm their validity.

"The information provided on a trip ticket is the best way for the department to establish the value of Louisiana fisheries and the importance of those fisheries to the nation.  Trip ticket data also plays a key role in the managing of fisheries in Louisiana to ensure sustainability," said Michelle Kasprzak, LDWF Trip Ticket Program administrator.  "We ask that trip tickets be completed accurately and submitted on time as required.  Inaccurate or embellished trip tickets will be investigated by the department's Law Enforcement Division."

Trip tickets are filled out at the first point of sale between a commercial fisherman and wholesale/retail dealer or fresh product license holder and are due on the 10th of every month.  Trip tickets are then entered into LDWFs Trip Ticket Program's database.

Commercial fishermen and wholesale/retail dealers may request their trip ticket landings by following the instructions on the LDWF Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill or calling the trip ticket section at 225-765-2399.

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

2010-232

L.D.W.F. Announces Reopening of Commercial Fishing Areas

Release Date: 07/28/2010

Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) - in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - has ordered an emergency reopening of commercial fishing areas that were previously closed due to the BP oil spill. Specifically, commercial fishing will reopen for finfish and shrimp in portions of state waters east of the Mississippi River in Orleans, St. Tammany, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes effective immediately today, July 29.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham ordered these reopenings following the completion of comprehensive testing by the FDA.  The FDA has advised that following extensive sensory testing and analytical chemistry results, the fish samples tested from previously closed areas are safe for consumption.

Details on Commercial Fishing Reopening

The opening includes all state waters inside east of the Mississippi River north of the northern shore of Pass a Loutre and all state outside waters north of 29 degrees 12 minutes 40 seconds north latitude

The areas detailed below will remain closed to commercial fishing until further notice due to continued presence of oil:

·         the portion of state inside and outside waters north of 29 degrees 59 minutes 30 seconds north latitude and south of the Mississippi/Louisiana state line from the Louisiana territorial sea boundary westward to 89 degrees 15 minutes 00 seconds west longitude, and

·         the portion of state inside and outside waters north of 29 degrees 36 minutes 30 seconds north latitude and south of 29 degrees 59 minutes 30 seconds north latitude from the Louisiana territorial sea boundary westward to a line extending 1 mile west from the western shore of the Chandeleur Islands, and

·         the portion of state inside waters north of 29 degrees 45 minutes 00 seconds north latitude and south of 29 degrees 59 minutes 30 seconds north latitude from 89 degrees 09 minutes 00 seconds west longitude westward to 89 degrees 15 minutes 00 seconds west longitude, and

·         the portion of state inside waters north of 29 degrees 47 minutes 00 seconds north latitude and south of 29 degrees 51 minutes 00 seconds north latitude from 89 degrees 15 minutes 00 seconds west longitude westward to 89 degrees 22 minutes 00 seconds west longitude

These openings do not include the commercial harvest of crabs and oysters.  The FDA testing method for crabs takes significantly longer to process; as such LDWF Secretary Barham chose a phased approach for opening commercial fishing.  It is also important to note that the spring inshore shrimp season remains closed except in Lake Pontchartrain, portions of Pass Manchac, Rigoletes and Chef Menteur Passes, portions of Mississippi Sound and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the "double-rig" line.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.

For more contact Marianne Burke at mburke@wlf.la.gov or 225.765.2917

2010-229

Documents: 

L.D.W.F. Opens Mississippi River Delta to Recreational Fishing

Release Date: 07/28/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced the opening of recreational fishing in a portion of the Mississippi River Delta in Plaquemines Parish effective, today, July 29 at 6:00 p.m.

Description of area open is as follows:

The portion of state inside and outside waters south of the northern shore of Pass a Loutre westward to the western shoreline of Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River shall open to recreational fishing.
The spring inshore shrimp season in these waters ended in early July. These waters will remain closed to shrimping.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.

For more information contact Marianne Burke, 225-765-2917 or mburke@wlf.la.gov

2010-227

Documents: 

Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet July 27 in New Orleans

Release Date: 07/26/2010

The Louisiana Oyster Task Force is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. at the UNO Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210 in New Orleans. The agenda for the July 27 meeting is below.

I. Roll Call

II. Approval of  May 25, 2010 minutes

III. Treasury Report

              a. Oyster Tag Sales

              b. LOTF Financial Report

IV.   Committee Reports

a. Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee

b. Enforcement

c. Legislative

d. Research

e. Coastal Restoration

f. Marketing

g. Department of Health and Hospitals

h. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

1. Public Oyster Seed Ground Stock Assessment Report and Possible Oyster Season Framework-Patrick Banks

i. Department of Natural Resources

j. Governor's Office of Coastal Affairs.

V.   Old Business

A.   Oyster Lease Surveying Delays ? Dan Coulon

B.  LDWF update on experiments request at the LOTF May 25, 2010 meeting to have the DWF Oyster Biologists test growing water and oyster meats for contaminants, and check for spawning capability of oysters using contaminated growing water as well as using the reef the oysters came from, to check spat catch ability in the new DWF lab at Grand Isle.- Al Sunseri

VI.  New Business

B.   Deep Horizon Oil Spill Update, Response, and Actions

                       A.   Proposal for revised DHH closures-Dan Coulon

                       B.   Oyster Crop Insurance - Robert Cerda

                       C.   Discussion of Farm Bureau Meeting-Buddy Pausina

VII.  Set Next Meeting

VIII.  Adjourn

For additional information, please contact Ashley Wethey at 225.765.5113 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.

2010-224

Last Day for Recreational Fishing for Red Snapper Friday, July 23

Release Date: 07/20/2010

Today the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the recreational fishing season for red snapper in state and federal waters will close at 12:01 AM on July 24, and will remain closed until June 1, 2011.  LDWF chose to enact the same action for Louisiana waters to enhance the effectiveness and enforceability of NOAA regulations and to ensure the recreational red snapper quota is not exceeded in the 2010 fishing year. 

All red snapper must be landed and on shore no later than 12:01 a.m. July 24, no possession on the water after that time is allowed. 

NOAA continues to monitor the recreational catch statistics for the Gulf of Mexico, should additional fish be available for recreational harvest under the established quota, an additional season could be announced in federal and state waters. 

Approximately 97 percent of all red snapper landed in Louisiana are caught in federal waters.    

Secretary Barham was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at their January, 2010 meeting to change or modify opening and closing dates for the recreational red snapper season in Louisiana waters to comply with changes or modifications in season dates in federal waters.  This action ensures that regulations in state waters will be consistent with regulations of NMFS for federally managed waters.

For more information contact Laura Deslatte at 225.610.2363 or ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov

2010-223

L.W.D.F. Reviewing Trip Ticket Information

Release Date: 07/18/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) routinely reviews every trip ticket received from the commercial fishing industry to ensure that the most accurate data are collected and properly reflect the important role the state of Louisiana plays in the production of seafood.

These reviews are critical to ensure that commercial fishermen and wholesale/retail dealers are appropriately credited with landings in the event of compensation that results from a natural disaster such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and the current BP oil spill.

BP is requesting commercial fishermen to provide landings information from 2007-09 to determine eligibility for financial assistance. LDWF is providing a landings data report back to commercial fishermen, when requested, to assist with this eligibility process.

The review of trip tickets has become even more critical during this time period considering that the previous years are being used to establish eligibility for assistance. Any trip tickets from previous years are being subjected to another layer of review by LDWF staff to confirm their validity.

"The information provided on a trip ticket is the best way for the department to establish the value of Louisiana fisheries and the importance of those fisheries to the nation. Trip ticket data also plays a key role in the managing of fisheries in Louisiana to ensure sustainability," said Michelle Kasprzak, LDWF Trip Ticket Program administrator. "We ask that trip tickets be completed accurately and submitted on time as required. Inaccurate or embellished trip tickets will be investigated by the department's Law Enforcement Division."

Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne with LDWF's Law Enforcement Division said, "We want to ensure our commercial fishermen and dealers are compensated fairly by using accurate trip ticket information. We do not want to see commercial fishermen or dealers tempted to commit felony violations by falsifying trip ticket documents."

Trip tickets are filled out at the first point of sale between a commercial fisherman and wholesale/retail dealer or fresh product license holder and are due on the 10th of every month. Trip tickets are then entered into LDWFs Trip Ticket Program's database.

Commercial fishermen and wholesale/retail dealers may request their trip ticket landings by following the instructions on the LDWF Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill or calling the trip ticket section at 225-765-2399. 

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

2010-219

Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board to Meet

Release Date: 07/18/2010

 

The Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board will meet on Tuesday, July 27, 2010.  The meeting will convene at 10:30 a.m. in Suite 200 of the University of New Orleans Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans.  

Agenda items for the meeting of the Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board are as follows:

1.    Approval of Minutes From May 25, 2010 Meeting

2.    Hearing of Previously-Deferred Appeals

a.    Donald Joost

b.    Tonci Gabre

c.    Lawrence Peterson

3.    Set next meeting date

4.    Adjourn

This Board was established by Act 922 of the 2008 Regular Legislative Session for the purpose of hearing appeals of vessel permit denials by LDWF.  Act 922 requires that anyone commercially harvesting oysters on the public oyster seed grounds and reservations, except Calcasieu Lake and Sabine Lake, must do so from a vessel holding a public oyster seed ground vessel permit issued by LDWF and no new applications for such vessel permits shall be accepted after December 31, 2009.

For more information, please contact Ty Lindsey at 225-765-2387 or tlindsey@wlf.la.gov.

for more information contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or 225.765.2335

2010-220

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