Oil Spill

Assistance Available for Louisiana Shrimp Harvesters

Release Date: 08/12/2010

 

Qualified Louisiana shrimp fishermen may receive up to $12,000 in cash benefits and obtain technical training under the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers Program.

This program is designed to help shrimpers in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic adjust to increased competition through training and payments to implement new business strategies.

Individual shrimpers in Louisiana interested in applying for technical training and up to $12,000 in cash benefits must complete and submit a written application to their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) center by September 23, 2010.

To find the Louisiana FSA center nearest you, visit the following link to the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s website and click on the parish where you live.  http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=la&agency=fsa

When applying for TAA benefits, you must provide documentation that you caught or harvested shrimp (i.e. LDWF trip ticket reports) in the 2008 marketing year and during at least one of the three previous marketing years (2005, 2006 or 2007).  You may also need to certify that either your production or price per pound declined from previous years.  Interested family members or business partners may be listed as an alternate on the application form if you are unable to attend training. 

Applications (form FSA 229-1) are available on the FAS Website at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa/taaforms.asp.

For more information call your local FSA office or visit www.taaforfarmers.org.

2010- 241

Rehabilitated Brown Pelicans Released at Rabbit Island in Cameron Parish

Release Date: 08/05/2010

State and federal biologists today released the first brown pelicans back into Louisiana coastal habitat since rescue and rehabilitation operations began following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The 15 pelicans were transported from the Bird Rehabilitation Center in Hammond and carefully off loaded on to Rabbit Island by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists, US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists and representatives from the International Bird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

"We are pleased to see our state bird being returned to the coastal zone and applaud the efforts of the biologists who captured the distressed birds and the rehabilitation specialists who work diligently to ensure their survival," said Robert Barham, LDWF  secretary.

Rabbit Island, within Calcasieu Lake, was selected as the release point due to its inland, southwestern Louisiana location which has not been impacted by any oil for the duration of the spill incident. The Cameron Parish location provides 220 acres inhabited by laughing gulls, brown pelicans, and a mix of wading birds that includes roseate spoonbills, herons and egrets.

For photos of today's event go to:

 

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill/gallery

Since bird rescue and rehab began in April, 611 brown and white pelicans have been rescued alive in Louisiana.  248 have been successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and now Louisiana.

For more information related to Louisiana's response to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225/756-5115.

2010-237

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

Release Date: 08/04/2010

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: 07/29/2010

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

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

Release Date: 07/29/2010

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

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Sixteen Birds Saved from Deepwater Horizon Oil Impacts Released at Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge

Release Date: 07/28/2010

State and federal biologists today released back into the wild 13 laughing gulls and two royal terns and one sandwich tern rehabilitated after rescue from oil impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge (SWR) in Grand Chenier, LA, was selected by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as the release site because it has not been impacted by oil and it contains natural habitat for these species.

"This refuge and nearby natural areas provide these birds the best chance of survival and success," said Robert Barham, LDWF secretary. "We hope to release more rehabilitated birds in state in coming weeks."

The birds released today were treated at the Bird Rehabilitation Center in Hammond.  To date, over 550 birds have been treated and released in this massive wildlife rescue and recovery effort.  Two other birds not injured from the spill, but rehabilitated at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, were released at Rockefeller SWR as well.

Rockefeller SWR, located in eastern Cameron and western Vermilion Parishes, is managed by LDWF's Coastal and Non-game Resources Division.

The 76,000-acre refuge area borders the Gulf of Mexico for 26.5 miles and extends inland toward the Grand Chenier ridge, six miles from the Gulf.

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

2010-225

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

Release Date: 07/19/2010

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

Shrimp Seasons to Close in Portions of Zones 1 and 3

Release Date: 07/16/2010

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today the 2010 spring inshore shrimp season in Shrimp Management Zones 1 and 3 will close at 6:00 A.M. on Tuesday, July 20, except in those areas designated below. The state outside waters south of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line, as described in R.S. 56:495, shall also remain open to shrimping. However, portions of these waters where the shrimp season is extended as well as portions of state outside waters remain closed to commercial fishing due to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig accident. Commercial shrimping in these waters is prohibited until authorized by the Secretary or the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.

Zone 1

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  • Lake Pontchartrain including Rigoletes Pass from the mouth of Lake Pontchartrain extending eastward to the western side of the CSX Railway Bridge
  • Chef Menteur Pass from the mouth of Lake Pontchartrain southeasterly to the mouth of Lake Borgne
  • The portion of Mississippi Sound beginning at a point on the Louisiana-Mississippi Lateral Boundary at latitude 30 degrees 09 minutes 39.6 seconds north and longitude 89 degrees 30 minutes 00.0 seconds west; thence due south to a point at latitude 30 degrees 05 minutes 00.0 seconds north and longitude 89 degrees 30 minutes 00.0 seconds west; thence southeasterly to a point on the western shore of Three-Mile Pass at latitude 30 degrees 03 minutes 00.0 seconds north and longitude 89 degrees 22 minutes 23.0 seconds west; thence northeasterly to a point on Isle Au Pitre at latitude 30 degrees 09 minutes 20.5 seconds north and longitude 89 degrees 11 minutes 15.5 seconds west, which is a point on the double?rig line as described in LA R.S. 56:495.1(A)2; thence northerly along the double?rig line to a point on the Louisiana-Mississippi Lateral Boundary at latitude 30 degrees 12 minutes 37.9056 seconds north and longitude 89 degrees 10 minutes 57.9725 seconds west; thence westerly along the Louisiana-Mississippi Lateral Boundary to the point of beginning
  • The open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double-rig line (LA R.S.56:495.1)

Zone 3

    http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/img/7x9/orange_arrow.gif); ">
  • The Calcasieu Ship Channel originating at a line between Channel Markers 85 and 86 southward to a point originating along the inside/outside shrimp line at Calcasieu Pass and including East Pass from its origin at the Calcasieu Ship Channel to the south end of Calcasieu Lake and West Pass from its origin at the Calcasieu Ship Channel to the south end of West Cove
  • The portion of Cameron Parish west of Calcasieu Lake

Zone 1 includes state waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River and Zone 3 includes state waters from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line. It is important to note this closure is based on biological recommendations made by LDWF Office of Fisheries biologists and is not related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest data gathered by LDWF biologists indicates the presence of an increased number of juvenile white shrimp. This area is being closed in an effort to protect this developing crop. The closures in Shrimp Management Zone 2 remain in effect, along with all other recreational and commercial closures issued by LDWF. 2010-218 For more information contact Marty Bourgeios at 225-765-2401 or mbourgeios@wlf.la.gov

Update on Oiled Wildlife and Marine Life Recovered Along Louisiana's Coastline

Release Date: 07/14/2010

 

The rescue of oiled wildlife impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continues to be an important mission for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Working closely with state, federal and contracted forces assembled to rescue birds, sea turtles and marine mammals, LDWF biologists patrol coastal waters and marshes daily searching for wildlife in distress.

Wildlife rescue forces also respond to calls received via the oiled wildlife response hotline at 1-866-557-1401.

Through Wednesday, July 14, rescue numbers include the following breakdown:

BIRDS (Overview for duration of response) -

2,986 total birds collected within the five-state impact area (LA, MS, AL, FL, TX).

Louisiana bird collections only:

    http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/img/7x9/orange_arrow.gif); ">
  • 1,555 total birds processed in LA through Fort Jackson rehabilitation center in Buras, LA.
  • 837 birds collected alive.
  • 718 birds dead on arrival at rehabilitation center, euthanized due to extent of injury or dead after rehabilitation efforts unsuccessful.
  • 461 birds treated and released. 
    MARINE REPTILES & MAMMALS (Overview for duration of response) --

660 sea turtles collected in the five-state impact zone.

    http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/img/7x9/orange_arrow.gif); ">
  • 106 sea turtles of the total above were collected in LA waters (9 recovered alive; 97 dead).
  • 64 dolphins have been collected in the five-state impact area -
  • 35 dolphins were from LA waters (1 recovered alive; 34 dead).

Wildlife impact numbers are reported to the Unified Area Command from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, incident area commands, rehabilitation centers, and other authorized sources operating within the Deepwater Horizon/BP incident impact area.

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

For more information contact Bo Boehringer  bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115

2010-214

LDWF and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Announce Large-scale Opening to Recreational Fishing

Release Date: 07/14/2010

Today Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced significant openings to recreational fishing.  With this action, approximately 86 percent of recreational fishing in Louisiana will be open immediately today, July 14.

"The measures taken today by the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will allow recreational anglers, including recreational shrimping, crabbing and fishing, to resume," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  "While I am pleased and fully support today?s action, I caution all fishermen to exercise caution while fishing in areas closed to commercial fishing."

This opening includes licensed charter boat guides and bait fishermen or dealers who harvest for and sell to recreational fishermen exclusively.

Recreational fishing is being allowed subject to continual testing and monitoring, as this activity is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.  To date the Environmental Protection Agency?s near shore water tests have shown chemical contamination levels below public health concern.

"I consider today's action the first step in opening state waters to all fishing, both recreational and commercial," added Barham.

Although recreational fishing will be allowed in portions of the previously closed fishing areas, certain delineated areas, including heavily oiled areas, areas associated with boom and areas of active cleanup continue to be closed to recreational fishing.

It is advised that recreational fishermen avoid areas where oil is observed, respect oil cleanup and removal activities and stay clear of areas being protected by boom material.  Smell and examine catch closely to ensure that there are no obvious oil or chemical residues.  Recreational fishermen fishing in areas closed to commercial fishermen do so at their own risk.

All previously issued commercial fishing closures remain in place.

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

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

2010-215

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