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LDWF Secretary to Serve on NAWCA Council and Neotropical Migratory Bird Advisory Group

Release Date: 06/20/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham has been approved to serve on the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Council and Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) Advisory Group.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel and President Obama approved Barham’s nominations for the NAWCA Council and NMBCA Advisory Group today, June 20.

“I’m honored to be nominated and approved to serve on these important councils.  I’m ready to get started to work with other council and advisory group members, government agencies and the public to improve the quality of our wetlands and migratory bird habitats,” said LDWF Secretary Barham.

NAWCA was established in 1989 to provide matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife as part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

The NAWCA Council meets three times each year to review and select Standard Grant proposals that they take before the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) for funding approval.  The council also develops policy affecting the grant application and administration processes.

This NMBCA Advisory Group includes members of the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, as well as other bird conservation professionals.  The Advisory Group meets at least once a year, in conjunction with a North American Wetlands Conservation Council meeting, to discuss the NMBCA and make recommendations to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the direction of the program.

Barham, of Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish, has served as LDWF Secretary since 2008.  Barham also served as State Senator for Louisiana’s 33rd District representing Morehouse, Union, East Carroll, West Carroll, and parts of Claiborne and Ouachita parishes from 1994 to 2007.

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

Plaquemines Parish Man Cited For Oyster and Boating Violations

Release Date: 06/17/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Port Sulphur man for alleged oyster and boating safety violations on June 14 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents were on patrol in the area of Grand Bayou when they came into contact with Joel Gonzales, 30, on a vessel with 194 sacks of oysters.  Agents immediately noticed the vessel was not equipped with a tarp as per Department of Health and Hospitals regulations to protect the oysters from direct exposure to the sun and other adverse conditions.

Upon further investigation agents also determined Gonzales’ vessel did not have the required numbers for identification for the departments aircraft, the vessel was not registered by the department and was not licensed to transport seafood for sale.  The vessel also did not meet LDWF regulations for an oyster cargo vessel, which requires installation of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).

For having a vessel with no boat numbers, operating an unregistered motorboat and failing to display proper number on vessel each carry a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.  Violation of the state’s health code as it pertains to oysters carries a $450 fine and up to 10 days in jail.  Violation of VMS regulations carries a max fine of $950 and up to 120 days in jail plus court cost and forfeiture of anything seized.  Taking commercial fish without a vessel license carries up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Agents seized and returned 194 sacks of oysters to the state’s water bottoms.

Agents participating in the case are Sgts. Adam Young and Villere Reggio, and Cadet Travis Bartlett.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-465-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Agents Charge New Orleans Man with Illegal Fish Sales

Release Date: 06/16/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a New Orleans man for alleged commercial fishing violations on June 13 in Orleans Parish.

Agents cited Paul D. Haptonstall, 34, of New Orleans, for the illegal sale of fish.  Haptonstall sold red drum and spotted sea trout at his residence to undercover LDWF agents.

Agents received complaints about Haptonstall actively selling red drum and advertising this on social media sites.  The LDWF Special Investigations Unit purchased a total of 138 red drum, 11 black drum, two spotted sea trout, two blue catfish and three sheepshead after six transactions at Haptonstall’s residence.

Agents cited Haptonstall for selling commercial fish without a commercial license, taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license, taking spotted sea trout without a permit, selling spotted sea trout during a closed season and six counts of selling game fish illegally.

Selling commercial fish without a commercial license or gear license each carry a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Each count of selling game fish illegally carries a $350 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.  Taking spotted sea trout without a permit and selling spotted sea trout during a closed season each carry a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

He is also facing a total of $3,710.80 in civil restitution for the illegally taken and possessed fish.

Agents participating in the case are LDWF’s Special Investigations Unit, and Sgt. Kris Bourgeois and Cadet Jeff Farmer.

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

LDWF Enforcement Division Welcomes 13 New Agents at Graduation

Release Date: 06/10/2014

LDWF Enforcement Division Welcomes 13 New Agents at Graduation

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy today, June 10, graduated its 27th class of cadets into the ranks of LDWF Enforcement Division agents at a ceremony in Baton Rouge.

After six months of intensive physical and academic training at the academy, 13 newly commissioned agents are ready to begin enforcing hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham, the keynote speaker at the ceremony, said, “You have a tremendous responsibility to protect Louisiana’s rich natural resources and those who enjoy those resources, whether in the field or on the water.  Congratulations on your achievement which we celebrate today.”  Barham further noted that, “These 13 cadets are very much needed to help bolster the ranks of agents in the state as this is our first graduation in over three years.”

Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadets’ transition to commissioned agents official.  “We welcome these cadets into the Enforcement Division ranks.  They are well trained and will be required to hit the ground running when they get to their local regions.”

The 13 new agents are:

Todd Abshire, 25, of Lake Charles, assigned to Cameron Parish
William Bartlett, 28, of Slidell, assigned to Plaquemines Parish
Richard Bean, 27, of Marrero, assigned to Lafourche Parish
Jeffrey Farmer, 26, of New Orleans, assigned to Jefferson Parish
Lance Fox, 26, of Pineville, assigned to Southern Strike Force
Joshua Harris, 24, of Farmerville, assigned to Northern Strike Force
John Hattaway, 23, of Bastrop, assigned to Northern Strike Force
Lucas Hidalgo, 26, of Franklin, assigned to Southern Strike Force
Jake Hoover, 24, of Albany, assigned to Beauregard Parish
Kyle Wagner, 24, of Destrehan, assigned to St. Charles Parish
Derek Ware, 24, of Sieper, assigned to Sabine Parish
Tyler Wheeler, 22, of Monroe, assigned to Northern Strike Force
Max Wilkinson, 24, of Marksville, assigned to West Feliciana Parish

During the graduation ceremony, Farmer received the firearms award given for the best marksman in the class and the physical training award for being the most fit.  Fox received the academic award for having the highest grades.  Farmer also won the overall award, which is a cumulative score from the firearms, academic and physical training categories.

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas.  The academy also covers general law enforcement training equal to that of other state law enforcement officers.

The graduating agents fill vacancies in LDWF’s Enforcement Division and will be assigned to a field-training officer for their first six months of duty.  Now part of the agency’s commissioned officer staff, the agents will join the ranks of those patrolling land and water to primarily detect game, fish and boating law violations.  These duties require travel into Louisiana's forests, swamps, fields, streams, bayous, lakes, marshlands, the Gulf of Mexico and on the state roadway system.

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

Photo: First Row from Left to Right: Lance Fox, Jeffrey Farmer, Todd Abshire, John Hattaway, William Bartlett, Richard Bean, and Derek Ware.  Back Row from Left to Right: Col. Joey Broussard, Joshua Harris, Tyler Wheeler, Jake Hoover, Kyle Wagner, Max Wilkinson, Lucas Hidalgo, and Major Spencer Cole.

LDWF To Hold Law Enforcement Academy Graduation Tuesday, June 10

Release Date: 06/09/2014

EVENT:  27th Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy Graduation.

WHEN:  Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 10 a.m.

WHERE:  Louisiana Room, LDWF Headquarters Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.

BACKGROUND:  The graduation will add 13 new agents to the LDWF Enforcement Division following six months of training.  The event will include the presentation of colors by the LDWF Enforcement Color Guard, presentation of awards and the Oath of Office ceremony.

LDWF agents enforce hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.  Their duties include checking hunters, fishers, dealers, restaurants, breeders, farmers and transporters for compliance with regulations governing limits, quotas, licenses, sizes, registrations, legal documents and accepted behavior.  Agents are also trained for search and rescue and maritime security missions.

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

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Abbeville Men Arrested for Falsely Claiming Reimbursement Money

Release Date: 06/06/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested two Louisiana fishermen on June 5 for allegedly trying to falsely claim reimbursement money from LDWF.

Agents arrested Christopher T. Cao, 46, and Tam V. Nguyen, 52, both of Abbeville, for injuring public records and filing false public documents.

According to the arrest warrants, both men filed a Shrimp Refrigeration Cost-Share Program Application with LDWF in an attempt to receive 50 percent monetary reimbursement for equipment upgrades on their shrimping vessels.  Participants in this program may purchase and install advanced refrigeration equipment onboard their vessels in order to produce high-quality seafood products.

According to the arrest warrant, Cao recreated and altered a purchase receipt for a $12,340 generator.  Further investigation revealed that the generator was not installed on the vessel and was originally purchased for a different vessel.  He attempted to collect $6,170 from LDWF.

Nguyen also altered a purchase receipt for a $12,340 generator which was purchased for a different vessel.  He altered an additional $7,991 worth of purchase receipts for various equipment and supplies, which were purchased for other vessels as well.  Further investigation revealed that the vessel had existing generators, but they did not correlate with any of the paperwork.  He attempted to collect $10,165.50 from LDWF.

Both subjects were booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

Injuring public records and filing false public documents each carry up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail for each offense.

Senior Agent Michael Marques, of the Southern Strikeforce, is assigned to the case.

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

Two Men Arrested for Illegal Charter Violations in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 06/04/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested two Kenner men for allegedly running illegal offshore guide services in Venice.

Agents arrested Mitchell Rodgers, 22, on May 30 and Michael C. Mayronne Jr., 29, on June 2.  The men surrendered themselves to authorities for failing to comply with charter boat regulations, failing to carry liability insurance, and for violating reef fish, pelagic species and highly migratory species regulations.

The arrests were made while conducting investigations into illegal charter services under a Joint Enforcement Agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

During the investigation, agents learned that both men were linked to the same online offshore charter service and both men were unlicensed and uninsured.  Neither of the men possessed the required United States Coast Guard Licenses, liability insurance for charter operations, or National Marine Fisheries Service permits for reef fish, pelagic and highly migratory species.

Failing to comply with charter boat regulations and failing to carry liability insurance for businesses each carries a maximum fine of $950 or up to 120 days in jail and forfeiture of anything seized for each offense.  Violation of commission rules and regulations for reef, pelagic and highly migratory species carries up to a $350 fine or up to 60 days in jail plus court costs for each offense.

Agents participating the in the case are Sgts. Adam Young and Villere Reggio, and Senior Agent Brett Nabors.

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

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