Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a man on Aug. 14 and another on Aug. 19 for alleged crab trap violations in Calcasieu Parish.
Agents cited Nicholas Wayne Erny, 35, of Lake Charles, and Eric L. Linden, 33, of Grand Lake, for theft, destroying legal crab traps, violating crab escape ring requirements, using crab traps without the required markings, and taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license. Linden was also cited for selling fish to a consumer without a fresh products license.
Agents heard from an anonymous crab fisherman on Black Bayou in Calcasieu Parish who was missing crap traps. After further investigation, agents found several crab traps near Fred’s Lounge on Black Bayou with the anonymous crab fishermen’s license number on the trap, but with different corks and lines from what the crab fishermen uses. Agents were able to bring the crab fishermen to the traps for positive identification.
Agents also observed several traps without any tag numbers and some with no escape rings.
On Aug. 14 agents located Erny who admitted to having stolen crab traps, cutting the lines and corks of the stolen traps, using traps without tag numbers and escape rings. Erny stated he and Linden ran the traps a couple of times for commercial use.
On Aug. 19, agents located Linden who also admitted to stealing crab traps, cutting the lines and corks of the stolen traps, and using traps without tag numbers and escape rings.
Neither Linden nor Erny possessed a commercial gear license. Agents seized 22 crab traps and Linden’s vessel.
Violating crab escape ring requirements, destroying legal crab traps and using crab traps without the required markings brings a fine up to $950 and 120 days in jail for each offense. Taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license and selling fish to a consumer without a fresh products license carries a fine up to $500 and 90 days in jail. Theft brings a $500 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Stuart Guillory, Senior Agent Anthony Verret and Senior Agent Sean Moreau.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has appointed a new state Boating Law Administrator (BLA), which will represent Louisiana on the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, of Baton Rouge, is replacing Col. Jeff Mayne as Louisiana’s BLA after Col. Mayne stepped down from the position when he was promoted to the head of the LDWF Enforcement Division in June.
“I’m honored to be named Louisiana’s Boating Law Administrator as we strive to make our waterways safer for everyone to enjoy,” said Capt. Zechenelly. “We’ve made a lot of progress in making boating a safer experience and we will continue to look at ways to make it even safer in the future.”
Capt. Zechenelly also said she will expand education outreach programs to paddle sports due to a significant increase in people kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing.
Capt. Zechenelly is originally from Pearl River and joined the LDWF Enforcement Division in 1999. Capt. Zechenelly started as an agent working out of the New Orleans office where she primarily handled fishery patrols and boating safety enforcement on the water including on the coast and Gulf of Mexico.
Capt. Zechenelly was assigned to LDWF Enforcement Division’s Headquarters Staff in 2005 in Baton Rouge as the boating education coordinator. In May of 2011, she was promoted to captain and put in charge of LDWF’s Boating Safety Enforcement and Waterways Management. She currently oversees the Enforcement Division’s marine theft investigations, boating crash incident investigations, and the statewide boating safety education program.
“I have the utmost confidence in Capt. Zechenelly’s ability and experience to spearhead our boating safety programs,” said Col. Jeff Mayne. “She has led our boating education program almost from the beginning and is familiar with NASBLA’s training curriculum and key personnel.”
Capt. Zechenelly has participated and coordinated the Enforcement Division’s emergency response for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and Isaac, the BP Oil Spill in 2010, and the Mississippi River Spring 2011 Flood event.
Capt. Zechenelly completed the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Patrol Officer Course and the month long National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Law Enforcement Training Program. She also completed the NASBLA Comprehensive Boating Accident Investigation and Analysis Course.
NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.
NASBLA’s mission is to strengthen the ability of the state and territorial boating authorities to reduce death, injury and property damage associated with recreational boating and ensure a safe, secure and enjoyable boating environment.
Louisiana Public Broadcasting unveils a special presentation of the first episode of its new six-part series Alive! In America’s Delta on Monday, August 19th at 7PM on LPB and Friday, August 23rd at 8PM on WLAE in New Orleans. The series was produced with the generous support and assistance of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
By 1954, Louisiana had lost its entire population of whooping cranes. This majestic North American bird had been over-hunted and much of its coastal habitat was converted to farmland, pushing the population to the brink of extinction and leaving only 16 birds remaining in the world. To assist in the survival of the species, U.S. and Canadian biologists started by working to re-establish the bird, and in the process have learned even more about the whooping crane. Through this intensive, international effort, there are now more than 400 in the wild, and while there is new hope for the future of the species, their ultimate survival is not guaranteed.
This documentary follows the newest initiative to reintroduce whooping cranes into their ancestral territory currently underway in southwest Louisiana, with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries taking the lead. Each year, whooping cranes born in captivity are raised by costumed caretakers at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, run by the U.S. Geological Survey, with the intent of reintroducing them into the wild.
“This project has been in the works for a long time, because Louisiana has a very large area of high quality habitat for cranes. We’re proud to have the opportunity to restore a native species that was lost. With the reintroduction of the whooping crane in Louisiana, we become the latest partner in a consortium of scientists and conservationists across the North American continent restoring cranes,” said LDWF administrator Bob Love.
By increasing the numbers of whooping cranes, the bird could eventually be removed from the list of critically endangered species. The addition of a separate non-migratory flock will also serve to protect the species from the danger of disease or a catastrophic event like a hurricane or oil spill.
South Louisiana has retained an extensive crane habitat, with coastal marshlands providing an abundance of food. The reintroduced whooping cranes also frequent rice and crawfish farms, which are a rich source of foraging material. But even with an ideal habitat, the young birds lack the guidance and protection of whooping crane parents, which makes them even more vulnerable as they are introduced to the wild with its predators and man-made dangers.
For an exclusive view of these remarkable animals and the professionals who prepare them to thrive successfully in the wild, LPB producer Donna LaFleur and photographer Rex Q. Fortenberry followed alongside the LDWF staff members as they worked with the cranes. Fortenberry even donned the required crane costume to disguise himself and his camera to capture the arrival of the young birds to the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area and throughout their release into the Louisiana marshlands south of Gueydan.
Additionally, LDWF biologists wore cameras strapped to their chests while interacting with the birds, giving viewers an intimate look at the young cranes and how they relate to their costumed caretakers, and revealing how staff members approach issues like medicating the birds and achieving dominance over cranes that might challenge their authority.
“The main purpose of the costume is to disguise the fact that we’re people underneath the costume. We think that the best chances to succeed in the wild is to not be comfortable, not be used to being around people. They don’t see us; we don’t speak around the birds,” said LDWF biologist Sara Zimorski.
Among those appearing in the documentary are LDWF administrator Bob Love and LDWF biologist Sara Zimorski; assigned to the Louisiana whooping crane reintroduction project, Zimorski began working with cranes as a young intern at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Research Leader Sammy King, Ph.D., and Research Associate Tandi Perkins from the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit also provide commentary; King talks about the biological characteristics of the whooping crane, while Perkins follows the cranes after their release, using satellite transmitters to track their location in the wild.
“This is at least a 20-year project; it’s not going to happen overnight. So, but we intend to stay the course and we think we’re going to be successful,” said Love. “If you ever look a whooping crane in the eye and see their determination and their visual acuity, and watch their behavior, you know that bird is going to uphold its end of the bargain.”
Future episodes in the Alive! In America’s Delta series explore Louisiana black bears, wildlife enforcement, and endangered species on land and in the water.
LDWF/LEEC would like to extend a very special thanks to LPB for their time and effort in promoting our prized Louisiana natural resources, in particular two of our threatened and endangered species, the whooping crane and the Louisiana black bear.
In addition, if you are either a formal or informal educator and would like your opportunity to help LDWF spread the word about our Louisiana cranes, please consider attending our “Give A Whoop!” teacher workshop on Saturday September 14, 2013 in Woodworth, LA.
Participants can expect a day of fun and learning at LDWF’s beautiful Woodworth education facility south of Alexandria! Learn about the WHOOPING CRANE reintroduction program and the crane’s amazing journey back from the brink of extinction! Geared toward teachers of middle and high school students (elementary level teachers are also welcome) and informal educators, these workshops will explain the complexities and challenges of the reintroduction program, demonstrate the new classroom lesson activities, and engage participants in field work related to habitat identification using GPS units. Participants will receive: 10 engaging, GLE aligned lessons, $75 stipend, GPS unit for your classroom, breakfast and lunch, and up to 7.5 CLUs.
So join us Saturday September 14, 2013 from 8 AM until 4 PM at Woodworth, LA. Interested individuals are asked to fill out the attached registration form and mail it, along with your $25 check to be reimbursed, to: Carrie Salyers LDWF 102 Magnate Dr. Suite 201 Lafayette, LA 70508
. Thank you, Chevron, for sponsoring this workshop!
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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Buras man for alleged boat registration charges on Aug. 13.
Agents arrested Limauel Watson, 66, for filing public false documents and injuring public records and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.
Agents began investigating Watson in May of 2013 after he tried to register a 20-foot aluminum vessel in April of 2013. Watson claimed on the boat registration forms that he purchased the vessel in April of 2010.
After investigating Watson’s registration, agents learned that Watson’s vessel wasn’t manufactured until July of 2010 and that he didn’t purchase the vessel until October of 2010.
It is believed that Watson filed a fraudulent boat registration in an effort to receive reimbursement payment from BP for work he allegedly did with the vessel helping with the oil spill cleanup in 2010. Watson has submitted a reimbursement claim with BP that has been unfulfilled at this time.
Injuring public records and filing false public documents each brings up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail for each offense.
Agents participating in the case are Lt. Louis Burnett, Sgt. Todd Laviolette, Senior Agent Michael Williams, Senior Agent Michael Marques and Senior Agent Adam Tieben.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has clarified a hog hunting on public lands regulation in this year’s Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet.
In the 2013-14 Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet on page 47 and 48 in the Feral Hogs and Outlaw Quadrupeds section it states that “feral hogs may be taken during any legal hunting season on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) by properly licensed hunters.”
However, there are raccoon hunting seasons at night on select WMAs throughout the state for a few weeks each year. During these nighttime raccoon seasons on WMAs, the hunting, taking and possessing of feral hogs will be prohibited and enforced as such.
Furthermore, it states in the 2013-14 Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet on page 29 that the nighttime take of feral hogs can only happen on private lands from the last day of February until the last day of August by properly licensed hunters. This regulation purposely omits any nighttime take of feral hogs on WMAs and other public lands.
LDWF will take measures for next year’s hunting regulations pamphlet to further clarify this regulation as it pertains to feral hogs.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited two Metairie residents for alleged crabbing violations on Aug. 2 on Lake Pontchartrain.
LDWF agents set up surveillance from the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain after receiving complaints about stolen crabs from crab traps in the area. Agents observed David E. Shelhorse Jr, 37, and Jennifer Bourgeois, 31, running crab traps in the area with two different colored corks.
After stopping the subjects, the agents learned that the crab traps that Shelhorse Jr. and Bourgeois were taking crabs from belonged to another commercial fisherman.
Agents cited Shelhorse Jr. and Bourgeois for unlawfully removing contents of a crab trap, which carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail if found guilty.
Agents also seized 63.5 pounds of blue crabs.
The agents participating in the case are Sgt. Jason Russo, Sgt. Kris Bourgeois and Sgt. Adam Young.