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State and Local Officials Highlight Remaining Oiled Louisiana Coast in Bay Jimmy

Release Date: 01/07/2011

LDWF Sec. Barham shows marsh grass still covered in oil.
Oiled marsh with open water in background
Close-up of oiled boom

Parts of Louisiana Coastline Still Heavily Oiled; Officials Asking BP, Federal Government to Finish the Job

Today, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser toured a portion of Louisiana’s coastline still heavily oiled by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Bay Jimmy, one of the areas along the Gulf of Mexico coast still severely impacted by thick layers of weathered oil and matted marshland, was highlighted by Secretary Barham and Nungesser as a prime example of portions of the Louisiana coastline still in desperate need of a comprehensive clean-up and recovery plan.

State and local officials voiced concerns today over plans of federal officials and BP to turn the responsibilities for mitigating damage to wildlife across the oiled parts of Louisiana’s coast over to LDWF. The continued presence of pooled oil, oil saturated boom in areas such as Bay Jimmy and Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area (WMA) underscore the need for a comprehensive, long-term plan to rehabilitate the marsh.

“It has been eight months since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, and five months since the well was capped. While workers along the coast dedicated themselves to cleaning up our shores there is still so much to be done,” LDWF Secretary Barham said. “BP and federal officials are ready to close up shop and claim the job is done, leaving the state to clean up the mess. We will continue to push for a real resolution, more than just a wait-and-see approach for the miles of Louisiana coastline still oiled. They may have forgotten the impact on our wildlife and our habitat, but we have not.”

“We continue to find oil in different parts of Plaquemines Parish—Redfish Bay, Bay Jimmy, Pass a Loutre—depending on the tides, wind and thunder storms,” said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.  “We’re concerned about the long-term plan to keep assets in this region to help remove oil and protect the wildlife. This is by no means over and we're concerned that this is being wrapped up before it is.”

Shoreline treatment recommendations (STRs) for areas like Pass a Loutre WMA have been written by contractors for BP, and some have been executed, but rarely to the full extent necessary to restore crucial coastal habitats. For Bay Jimmy, treatment recommended in STRs has yet to begin; state officials are monitoring cleanup operations to ensure they are fulfilled before BP and federal officials pack up shop at the end of February.

Oiled boom, once used to prevent oil from hitting the shoreline also remains in numerous locations, forgotten or lost by contractors charged with their maintenance and removal.

Oiled birds also continue to be recovered by LDWF biologists, including three live Brown Pelicans in Bay Jimmy, and one dead Brown Pelican. Biologists also recovered one oiled, dead Brown Pelican in Pass a Loutre and one oiled, live Killdeer. These birds, which were recovered in the last few days, have increased concerns for continued wildlife contamination if marshes are not properly cleaned.

“We will continue to try to work with BP, their contractors and federal officials to come up with reasonable, effective solutions for treating and restoring our coastline,” said Secretary Barham. “But we won’t step back while officials pack their bags and leave Louisiana. We’re hopeful that we can reach an agreement for the next steps in our recovery plan.”
If BP and federal officials pass off the wildlife hazing efforts to LDWF, officials will be required to take over operations of hazing tools, such as propane cannons and other deterrents. Federal officials have asked LDWF to submit a Pollution Removal Funding Authorization (PRFA) to the Oil Spill Pollution Fund in order to acquire funds to take over the maintenance and operations of hazing cannons – requiring LDWF to justify why such hazing tools are necessary.

The 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 Olivia Watkins at LDWF at (226) 610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov, or Kurt Fromherz of Plaquemines Parish Government at (504) 450-8779 or kfromherz@plaqueminesparish.com.

For additional photos, video footage and research documentation please visit: ftp://204.12.23.214/Jan_7_Marsh_Tour/.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Date: 
Thu, 04/07/2011

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has scheduled the next regular public board meeting for 9:30 a.m. on April 7, 2011, at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Date: 
Thu, 03/03/2011

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has scheduled the next regular public board meeting for 9:30 a.m. on March 3, 2011, at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Date: 
Thu, 05/05/2011

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has scheduled the next regular public board meeting for 9:30 a.m. on May 5, 2011, at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

Commercial King Mackerel Season Opens July 1

Release Date: 01/06/2011

Data indicates Louisiana lands 90 percent of Western Gulf of Mexico Quota

The 2011 commercial king mackerel season will begin July 1, 2011. The season opening date was set today at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting.  Once the season opens, it will remain open until the quota of approximately 1 million pounds is met.

King mackerel is a significant commercial fishery in Louisiana.  From 2000 through 2009 Louisiana has landed, on average, an amount equal to approximately 90 percent of the allotted western Gulf of Mexico quota.  In 2009 approximately 926,000 lbs were landed in Louisiana.  A significant amount of the king mackerel landed in Louisiana is shipped to markets in the northeastern U.S., primarily for New York.

Currently, the 2010-2011 commercial king mackerel season is still open, as the established quota has not yet been harvested; however, it is expected to close prior to July 1.

The 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 (225) 610-2363 or ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov.
 

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Approves Oyster Lease Relocation Program

Release Date: 01/06/2011

Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved the Oyster Lease Relocation Program for select oyster leases that have been non-renewed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) since 1998.  This new program will move 19 oyster leases, comprising 700 water-bottom acres to a relocation area of approximately 1,483 acres east of the Mississippi in the open waters of Breton Sound.

Under existing LDWF policy, oyster leases that lie completely within the public oyster seed grounds are not renewable following the expiration of the original 15-year lease term. The Oyster Lease Relocation Program offers the 19 identified leaseholders who are subject to this non-renewal policy, an opportunity to obtain a replacement lease of equal size in a new area.

The relocation area was determined jointly by LDWF and the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration, in consultation with the Louisiana Oyster Task Force. Prior to being chosen, the relocation area received extensive investigation to determine its appropriateness in terms of suitable water bottom, firmness, salinity regime, and conflicts with existing oil and gas infrastructure (pipelines, wells, etc.).
    
Following a public comment period, the Commission will consider ratifying a final rule for the Oyster Lease Relocation Program at its May meeting.

The 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 (225) 610-2363 (ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov).

Oyster Season Remains Closed East of the Mississippi and in Hackberry Bay

Release Date: 01/06/2011

Originally scheduled to open Nov. 15, season opening will be reevaluated at Feb. 3 Commission meeting

The 2010-2011 oyster season for public seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and in Hackberry Bay will remain closed for now. The season, which was originally supposed to open Nov. 15, 2010, has been under evaluation each month at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meetings since November. The Commission has elected to keep the season closed each month in order to allow oyster spat (young oysters less than one inch in length) to develop.  

Samples taken by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists throughout the fall and winter of 2010 indicated the presence of a reproductive event in some areas east of the Mississippi River. The reproductive event resulted in the presence of significant numbers of oyster spat.  This spat set represents potential rebound of the oyster resources in this area for future years.

Significant oyster mortalities were also previously documented during summertime biological sampling in some areas, which further decreased an already stressed oyster resource. The continued season delay will help to protect and conserve the remaining oyster resources located in these areas.  

The public grounds east of the Mississippi River contribute approximately 28 percent of all oyster harvest in Louisiana on an annual basis, but are currently at some of their lowest oyster availability levels in the last 20 years.

All remaining public oyster areas throughout the coast will continue with the current oyster season framework as set by the Commission at their August 2010 meeting.  Most of these areas opened to harvest on November 15, 2010.

The 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.
 

Small Coastal Shark Season Opens January 1

Release Date: 12/30/2010

Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced that the 2011 season for small non-sandbar coastal sharks in Louisiana state waters will open January 1, 2011.  LDWF Secretary Robert Barham sets the season in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service and shark seasons in federal waters.

The non-sandbar small coastal shark group is composed of bonnethead, Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose and finetooth sharks.  The 2010 non-sandbar small coastal shark season was previously closed in November.

The non-sandbar small coastal shark (SCS) fishery is very small in Louisiana and is primarily incidental in nature.  The annual Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico quota for SCS is approximately 1 million pounds.

The 2011 non-sandbar large coastal shark season will open on March 1, 2011.

Information on current regulation for non-sandbar small coastal sharks including trip limits, allowable species, requirements for permits and landings is available here: http://www.gulfcouncil.org/fishing_regulations/index.php.

There is no allowable harvest at any time of prohibited species, which include: Basking, white, bigeye sand tiger, sand tiger, whale, smalltooth sawfish, largetooth sawfish, Atlantic angel, Caribbean sharpnose, smalltail, bignose, Caribbean reef, dusky, Galapagos, narrowtooth, night, bigeye sixgill, bigeye thresher, longfin mako, sevengill and sixgill sharks.

The 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 Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or 225-610-8660.

L.D.W.F. Agents Charge Metairie Man With Insurance Fraud

Release Date: 12/28/2010

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division strike force agents charged a Metairie man on Dec. 23 for alleged theft by insurance fraud, filing a false application and injuring public records.

LDWF agents assigned to the southern strike force charged Bryan M. Miguez, 49, of Metairie, for insurance fraud after a joint investigation with the National Insurance Crime Bureau and Progressive Insurance Company.

Miguez accepted a payment from the Progressive Insurance Company for his boat, which Miguez claimed was lost during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In early 2010, Miguez contacted Progressive Insurance Company claiming to have recently found the boat. However, investigators found that Miguez had been in possession of the boat since early 2006.

If convicted of theft by insurance fraud, Miguez could face imprisonment for up to 10 years, or a fine up to $3,000 or both. For filing a false application, Miguez could be ordered to pay a $500 fine, or sentenced for up to 90 days in jail or both. If convicted of Injuring Public Records, Miguez could be sentenced to up to five years in jail, or a fine up to $5,000 or both.

Agents involved in the case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud, Sgt. Todd Laviolette and Agent Ronnie Engelhard.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Agenda Set for January Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Release Date: 12/28/2010

The next regular Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 6, 2011, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of Minutes of December 2, 2010
  3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
  4. To announce 2009-2010 Employee Rewards and Recognition Winners
  5. To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/December
  6. To hear General Information on upcoming Hunting Seasons, WMAs, Rules and Regulations
  7. To hear presentation on Wildlife Division GIS
  8. To consider Declaration of Emergency to open the Primary Public Oyster Seed Grounds East of the Mississippi River and the Hackberry Bay Seed Reservation
  9. To consider a Notice of Intent to Modify a Portion of the Public Oyster Seed Grounds to allow for Oyster Lease Relocation
  10. To consider a Declaration of Emergency for the 2011-2012 Commercial Reef Fish Seasons
  11. To consider a Declaration of Emergency for the 2011-2012 Recreational Reef Fish Seasons
  12. To consider a Declaration of Emergency for the 2011-2012 Commercial King Mackerel Season
  13. To consider a Declaration of Emergency for the Closure of the Recreational Fishery for Gag Grouper in Louisiana Waters
  14. Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman
  15. Set May 2011 Meeting Date
  16. Receive Public Comments
  17. Adjournment
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