fishing

Greater Amberjack Recreational Season Won’t Close in 2010; 2011 Season Starts Jan. 1

Release Date: 12/08/2010

NOAA predicts 2010 quota will not be met; federal and state recreation season will stay open, continuous with 2011 season

(Baton Rouge, La.) December 8, 2010 – Recreational anglers will have the chance to continue to take home their greater amberjack catches in both state and federal waters off the Louisiana coast throughout the remainder 2010 and into the 2011 season, which starts on January 1. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDFW) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plan to keep the greater amberjack recreational season open for the remainder of the year, as NOAA predicts the quota for the harvest of greater amberjack will not be met.

LDWF officials estimate that approximately 14,500 greater amberjack weighing more than 337,000 pounds were harvested in Louisiana in 2009. Each year, recreational anglers in Louisiana land approximately 276,000 pounds of greater amberjack at docks across the state’s coast.
Greater amberjack are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in some parts of the Atlantic Ocean in temperate and tropical waters. They are typically found near offshore platforms, artificial reefs and near offshore wrecks in waters as deep as 300 feet.

The average size of a greater amberjack landed in Louisiana is more than 20 pounds, with the record weighing in at 139 lbs. The record catch was made by Bill Weldon in South Timablier Block 300 in May 2009.

Recreational saltwater fishing in Louisiana accounts for $472.1 million in retail sales in Louisiana annually and more than 7,700 jobs. The total economic impact is approximately $757.1 million each year. However, the BP oil spill kept many recreational anglers dockside throughout the summer.

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 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

Last Weekend of Special Red Snapper Season in State and Federal Waters

Release Date: 11/19/2010

Special season was opened Oct. 1 when quota wasn’t met; season closes Sunday, Nov. 21

This weekend is the last chance for recreational anglers to enjoy a special red snapper season, which opened in state and federal waters on October 1, 2010. The special season was declared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) when it was determined the recreational quota for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico had not been met. This weekend, Friday through Sunday, marks the last chance anglers have to keep red snapper until the 2011 season opens on June 1.

The recreational quota for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico wasn’t met this summer due to extended closures of Gulf waters, both state and federal, necessitated by the BP oil spill. When the season was reopened, NOAA estimated that approximately 2.3 million pounds of the 3.4 million pound quota remained.

Recreational saltwater fishing in Louisiana accounts for $472.1 million in retail sales in Louisiana annually and more than 7,700 jobs. The total economic impact is approximately $757.1 million each year. However, the BP oil spill kept many recreational anglers dockside throughout the summer. This special season was a chance for sportsmen from across the Gulf coast to enjoy almost an extra two months of angling for red snapper.

All regulations established for recreational harvest of red snapper were in effect for this special season.

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 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-313

New Oyster Farming Technique Increases Productivity, Offers Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Release Date: 11/17/2010

A new oyster farming initiative has launched in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The goal of this effort, a collaboration between researchers from Louisiana State University and Auburn University, is industry adoption of off-bottom oyster culture to supplement the traditional harvest. Historically, oysters are grown on and harvested from reefs on the water bottom. In this new process, oysters are grown suspended in the water column.

Benefits of this new oyster farming technique include increased productivity; job creation; and continued production of a safe, sustainable domestic oyster supply, according to John Supan, Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter oyster specialist, and Bill Walton, Auburn University aquaculture and fisheries specialist. Off-bottom culture also protects oysters from predators, provides a means to reduce fouling, and allows complete harvests of planted oyster seed, a major advantage over traditional oyster harvesting.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is also working with researchers at Louisiana Sea Grant to support the off-bottom culture efforts. LDWF’s Fisheries Research Laboratory in Grand Isle, La., provides research and hatchery space to researchers from the Louisiana Sea Grant program. Department officials are also working local officials in Plaquemines Parish to develop plans for a facility, which would provide space for oyster spat, oysters in the larval stage, to develop before they are utilized by industry.

“This could be an important addition to a traditional coastal industry,” said Walton. “It’s clean, green and energy efficient. And, it provides business opportunities to those already in the oyster industry as well as other coastal residents.”

“Through proper planning, off-bottom culture can work in harmony with other water uses and users,” added Supan. “It can support both part- and full-time incomes, just like natural fisheries, but with greater control over the natural variability that dominates bottom harvesting.”

“Louisiana’s oyster fishery has been hit with major natural and man-made disasters in the last five years, and has grown wiser for it,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “We are thrilled that Louisiana Sea Grant and researchers at Auburn University have worked so diligently to develop new methods for safeguarding and developing our oyster reefs along the coast. Our Department is going to work side-by-side with the industry and researchers to help ensure the success of our oyster fishery.”

Although this program was developed prior to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the oil spill prompted increased interest in oyster farming.

“We have received more calls and questions about oyster farming in the last four months than we have combined over the prior 12 months,” said Walton. “The spill has created a window of opportunity where traditional oystermen are eager, even desperate, to find ways to get back to working on the water as soon as possible.”

“Catastrophe causes change,” added Supan. “The challenge is to direct change to improve conditions, not to settle for status quo. This project will attempt do just that.”

Both the Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory on Dauphin Island, Ala., and the Sea Grant Bivalve Hatchery at the LDWF Marine Fisheries Research Laboratory on Grand Isle, La., will provide oyster seed for this tri-state project. Program funding is provided by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium.

A series of workshops are planned during 2011 and 2012, addressing issues such as appropriate culture systems, oyster seed stock, growing market-quality oysters, and developing practices and regulations in collaboration with state agencies. For more information, contact Supan at jsupan@lsu.edu or Walton at billwalton@auburn.edu.

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at LSU, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 32 university-based programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico.

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 Roy Kron at Louisiana Sea Grant at (225) 578-6564 or rkron@lsu.edu or Olivia Watkins at LDWF at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov

2010-312

LDWF to Close Commercial Fishing of Small Coastal Sharks in La. Waters at 11:30 p.m., November 18

Release Date: 11/17/2010

NOAA predicts quota will be met; fishery will reopen until 2011 season

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close the small coastal shark fishery in state waters at 11:30 p.m., November 18, 2010. LDWF Secretary Robert Barham signed the closure, which follows the November 2 closure issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The recreational season remains open.

Commercial fishermen began harvesting blacknose and non-blacknose small coastal sharks in Louisiana waters when the state’s shark fishery opened on July 1. The small coastal shark fishery includes the bonnethead shark, the Atlantic sharpnose, the blacknose and finetooth sharks.

While the federal small coastal shark season opened on June 1, LDWF keeps the state fishery closed to commercial shark harvest from April 1 to June 30 each year in order to protect shark pups and pupping females.

NOAA estimates the landings for small coastal sharks from Maine to Mexico to be 226,112 lb. The small coastal shark landings in Louisiana are extremely low annually.

The federal commercial season for small coastal sharks will remain closed until the start of the 2011 season, which is determined by NOAA, and opens 30 days after the opening date for the season is publicized in the federal register. LDWF will determine the 2011 state waters in conjunction with the federal season.

No personal shall purchase, barter, trade or exchange shark in excess of the designated trip limits, or from any person who does not possess a commercial state shark permit or federal commercial directed or incidental limited access or federal shark research permits, if applicable.

Vessels that possess a federal shark research permit may continue to operate under the permit’s conditions, including NOAA Fisheries observers aboard the vessel for the duration of the trip, until the federal shark research fishery quota is met.

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 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-311

LDWF, State Officials Partner with New Orleans Hornets, Launch Louisiana Seafood Market

Release Date: 11/05/2010

Three-year partnership will fund concessions stand selling only La. seafood, helps promote fishing industry.

(Baton Rouge, La.) November 5, 2010 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) joined officials with the Office of Community Development (OCD), and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) today to announce a partnership with the New Orleans Hornets to launch a Louisiana-only seafood concessions stand. Located inside the New Orleans Arena, the Louisiana Seafood Market will promote the state’s seafood industry while serving safe, quality commercial seafood caught in Louisiana waters.

“Louisiana’s fishing industry has battled back from four major hurricanes over the last five years only to face the challenges created by the BP oil spill,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fisheries Randy Pausina. “We have seen a dramatic drop in the value of our seafood this year, and we have to address the industry’s issues now. This partnership is an exciting opportunity to support our fishermen and to help reinforce that Louisiana seafood is safe and healthy. We’re grateful to the Hornets for their incredible support of the industry, and I challenge everyone who comes to the arena to stop by the market for some of the safest, most delicious commercial seafood in the country.”

“The entire Hornets family is proud to support the Louisiana seafood industry and provide our fans at the arena with the freshest seafood straight out of the Gulf,” said Hornets President Hugh Weber.  “Through our partnership with the Office of Community Development, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, we are able to send the message to our fans and the entire community that Louisiana seafood is safe, fresh and back open for business.  The new Louisiana Seafood Market concession stand is just another way we can provide our fans with options for top-notch local cuisine as they cheer on the Hornets at the Hive.”

The Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit worked closely with LDWF and LSPMB to secure $300,000 in funding from a Community Block Development Grant for the Louisiana-only seafood concessions stand to support the state’s fishing industry. In addition to the three-year agreement for the concessions stand, the Hornets have also committed to working with the state to promote Louisiana seafood with their fans, and in cities across the country as they travel to away games.

“This oil spill could not have come at a worse time for our fishing industry, which was still struggling to recover from the affects of four hurricanes in three years. It’s crucial that we continue to help rebuild and restore our fishing industry and communities by reinforcing the safety and quality of Louisiana seafood, both with our own residents and with those who join us at the arena from out of state,” said Office of Community Development Director Robin Keegan. “I’m incredibly grateful to President Weber and his staff for working to make this concession stand happen. It takes Louisiana companies purchasing Louisiana seafood to help rebuild our industry and our brand – the Hornets are playing an integral part in that today.”

“The Louisiana seafood stand at the New Orleans arena offers attendees a true taste of Louisiana. Whether it is a fan attending a Hornets game, or watching a performance by a world-renowned entertainer, the experience will be complete with flavorful dishes created from fresh Louisiana seafood,” said LSPMB Assistant Executive Director Rene LeBreton.

In addition to supporting the seafood industry through the Louisiana Seafood Market concession stand, the Hornets have teamed up with Chevron and several other corporate partners including Rouses Supermarkets, CVS pharmacies and Take 5 Oil Change  to launch the “Believe in Blue” campaign which will serve to raise awareness and funds for the residents of communities affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, restore local coastal wetlands and help return the gulf’s water back to its original color—blue.  In the last month alone, the team has raised over $40,000 for Gulf Coast restoration.

All proceeds raised through the entire “Believe in Blue” campaign will benefit the Friends of the Fisherman fund, the officially endorsed fund of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board created to help Louisiana's fishermen, America’s WETLAND Foundation, established to preserve Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans.  All funds will be collected and distributed through the United Way.

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 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-303

Two Men Cited for Overlimit Bass on Yucutan Lake in Tensas Parish

Release Date: 10/05/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men on Oct. 1 for allegedly possessing over the legal limit of black bass on Yucatan Lake in Tensas Parish.

Agents found Ricky Jones, 57, of Chatham, and James M. Jones, 81, of St. Joseph, to be in possession of 38 black bass.  The daily limit for black bass is 10 per person.  

The two men caught their 20 black bass for the day and hid them in an ice chest in their vehicle.  The two fishermen then returned to the water and caught 18 more black bass.  Agents seized the bass and donated them to a local charity.

The penalty for over limit of black bass is a fine up to $350, or jail time up to 30 days, or both plus court costs.  A court order for restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish will also be filed with the case.

Agents involved in the case were Sgt. Larry May and Senior Agent Lee Tarver.
 

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

2010-E57

NOAA Reopens More than 5,000 Square Miles of Federal Waters Just in Time for Red Snapper Season

Release Date: 10/01/2010

Today the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the reopening of 5,628 square miles of Gulf federal waters west of the Mississippi River to commercial and recreational fishing. This reopening accompanies the start of a special recreational red snapper season announced by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) just last week. The season began today, Oct. 1, 2010, and will remain open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout Sunday, November 21. The season will then remain closed until June 1, 2011.
 
The NOAA reopening of additional federal waters today is the seventh reopening since July 22. Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are now 89 percent open. NOAA reports that no oil or sheen has been documented in the area since August 6.
 
The additional recreational red snapper season opening was requested by NOAA Regional Administrator Roy Crabtree in a letter sent a letter to LDWF Secretary Robert Barham last week to match the federal season reopening. Today’s reopening of federal waters opens up a crucial portion of the Gulf in which recreational red snapper fishing occurs. This may also help boost launches, marinas and private camps out of Grand Isle, Cocodrie and Venice, as they both provide close access to the newly opened area.
 
NOAA officials chose to reopen the season for red snapper due to the significant fishing closures issued this summer as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident.  Figures suggest the recreational red snapper quota was not met at the July 24, 2010 closure date and that approximately 2.3 million pounds of the 3.4 million pound quota remains.  
 
All regulations established for recreational harvest of red snapper will be in effect for this special season.  
 
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 coincide with regulations for federally managed waters.
 
For additional information on the NOAA reopening, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/deepwater_horizon_oil_spill.htm .

For more information, contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or 225/765-2396.

 

2010-279

Red Snapper Season to Reopen on Weekends Beginning October 1

Release Date: 09/22/2010

Today the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced recreational fishing for red snapper will reopen in state waters on Friday, October 1, 2010.  The season will remain open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout Sunday, November 21.  The season will then remain closed until June 1, 2011.
 
NOAA Regional Administrator, Roy Crabtree, sent a letter to LDWF Secretary Robert Barham this week, requesting the reopening of red snapper season in state waters to match the federal season reopening.  
 
NOAA officials chose to reopen the season for red snapper due to the significant fishing closures issued this summer as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident. Figures suggest the recreational red snapper quota was not met at the July 24, 2010 closure date and that approximately 2.3 million pounds of the 3.4 million pound quota remains.  
 
All regulations established for recreational harvest of red snapper will be in effect for this special season.  
 
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 coincide with regulations for federally managed waters.

For more information, contact Harry Blanchet at hblanchet@wlf.la.gov or 225/765-2889.

 

2010-273

Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 09/15/2010

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010 - 1:30 p.m.
Louisiana Room
Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries Headquarters
2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, La.  70808

1.    Roll Call

2.    Approval of Minutes of March 16, 2010

3.    Welcome and Opening Comments Chairman

4.    Enforcement Division Report: Oil Spill Response

5.    Bird Rescue Mission: Oil Spill Response Office of Wildlife, Coastal & Non-game Resources Division

6.    2010-11 Duck Season Forecast / Oil Spill Impacts on Habitat Office of Wildlife, Wildlife Division

7.    Fisheries Report: Oil Spill Response Office of Fisheries, Research Division

8.    Set Next Meeting Date

9.    Receive Public Comments

10.    Adjournment

 

 

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