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LDWF News Release

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Proposes Modifications to Certain Reef Fish Regulations

Release Date: 08/01/2013

Aug. 1, 2013 – Today at its monthly meeting, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission took action on proposed modifications to current regulations for selected reef fish.  These proposed changes were made in an effort to remain consistent with federal regulations.
 
The proposed modifications are as follows:
 
Annual Season Closures
 
The commercial and recreational closed season for gray triggerfish and the recreational and the recreational gag grouper closed season is set for June 1 through July 31 each year
 
Changes the February 1 through March 31 closed season for Shallow Water Grouper to be only in waters seaward of 20 fathoms
 
Recreational Regulations
 
Gray triggerfish limit of two fish within the currently established 20 reef fish aggregate limit.
 
Vermilion snapper limit of 10 fish within the currently established 20 reef fish aggregate limit.
 
Commercial Regulations
 
Commercial trip limit of 12 gray triggerfish per trip
 
Commercial trip limit of 2,000 pounds for greater amberjack
 
Today’s actions also propose removing the requirements for use of a venting tool when fishing for reef fish.
 
Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed Rule to: Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898 9000, or via e-mail to:  jadriance@wlf.la.gov prior to Thursday, September 5, 2013.
 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant 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 press inquiries, contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.  For season and bag limit information, contact Jason Adriance at jadriance@wlf.la.gov or (504) 284-2032.
 
 

 

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LWF COMMISSION SETS 2013-2014 LOUISIANA OYSTER SEASONS

Release Date: 08/01/2013

Aug. 1, 2013– Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2013/2014 oyster seasons based on the annual oyster stock assessment provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments received from members of the public, including the oyster industry.
 
The following opening dates were set for the upcoming oyster season:

  • Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - the Little Lake, Barataria Bay, Deep Lake, Lake Tambour, and Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds will open at one-half hour before sunrise.
  • Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - all remaining public oyster seed grounds and reservations, including Lake Borgne, Sister Lake, Lake Mechant, the Lake Machias/Fortuna sacking-only area and the Bay Long sacking-only area, will open at one-half hour before sunrise. 
  • Friday, November 1, 2013 - the oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (DHH Harvest Area 30) will open at one-half hour before sunrise.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person, per vessel, per day.

 
The following areas will remain closed for the 2013/2014 oyster season:

  • Bay Gardene Public Oyster Seed Reservation
  • Bay Junop Public Oyster Seed Reservation
  • Lake Chien and Lake Felicity Public Oyster Seed Grounds
  • 2011 clutch plants in Mississippi Sound and California Bay,
  • 2012 cultch plants in Hackberry Bay, Sister Lake, Lake Fortuna, and Bay Crab
  • 2013 cultch plants in 3-Mile Pass and Drum Bay,
  • The east side of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (LDHH Harvest Area 29)
  • Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area

 
Closure dates will be determined by LDWF Secretary Barham on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered.  The Secretary is also authorized to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended, and to open areas if substantial oyster resources are located. 
 
Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.
 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant 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 press inquiries, contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.

 

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Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Adds Additional Species to Recreational Offshore Landing Permit

Release Date: 08/01/2013

Removes reporting requirement for Yellowfin Tuna from permit
 
Aug. 1, 2013 – In an effort to capture the most comprehensive data possible, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, approved measures to add additional species to the free, required offshore landing permit. 
 
The permit is required for all anglers, including anglers not normally required to possess a recreational fishing license, possessing tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, groupers and snappers, and hinds. This permit is now also required for the possession of gray snapper, wahoo, cobia and dolphin.
 
To make the process as easy as possible for anglers the Commission also removed the permit reporting requirement for Yellowfin Tuna.
 
Today’s recommendations also remove the permit requirement for any person on a paid trip aboard a charter vessel.
 
As Louisiana continues to make the case for regional management, it is more important now than ever that anglers provide LDWF biologists with this critical data that will only strengthen our fight. 
 
The permit is available at no cost to the public.
 
Get the Permit
 
To obtain a Recreational Offshore Landings Permit click here:  http://rolp.wlf.la.gov/Permit/Apply
 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant 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 press inquiries, contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.  For season and bag limit information, contact Jason Adriance at jadriance@wlf.la.gov or (504) 284-2032.
 
 

 

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Louisiana Shrimpers Encouraged to Report Asian Tiger Prawn Catches

Release Date: 08/01/2013

(Aug. 1, 2013) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is aware of and constantly monitoring the appearance of Asian tiger prawns, a non-native species, in Louisiana waters.  LDWF officials are asking local shrimp harvesters to report catches of tiger prawns to the Department. 

While there is little known at this time about the impacts of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp, these reports are key in helping LDWF biologists monitor the distribution and relative abundance of these prawns and in determining the possible presence of spawning populations. 

To report catches of Asian tiger prawns please contact Robert Bourgeois at rbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or (225) 765-0765 or Martin Bourgeois at mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or (985) 594-4130, with the date, location and size of capture. Photographs are encouraged. 

Tiger prawns are easily identifiable by their large size, dark body color and white banding found along the head and between segments of the tail.  Occasionally, red or yellow stripes are present as well.  LDWF officials ask that harvesters retain the tiger prawns by freezing and contact the biologist listed above.

History of incidence in Gulf of Mexico

It is unknown when and how tiger prawns were first introduced into the Gulf of Mexico.  In 1988, a portion of a population of reared tiger prawns escaped from a facility on the east coast.  Approximately 1,000 adults were later recaptured as far south as Cape Canaveral, Florida. In September 2006, a single adult male was captured by a commercial shrimp fisherman in Mississippi Sound near Dauphin Island, Alabama and reports from Alabama and Mississippi have been increasing ever since.

LDWF first documented the occurrence of Asian tiger prawns in Louisiana in August 2007, when a single specimen was taken by a commercial shrimp fisherman in Vermilion Bay.  Prior to the 2011 fall inshore shrimp season, reported captures in Louisiana waters numbered fewer than 25 with none taken any farther westward than Vermilion Bay.  However, since the fall season began, reported captures have dramatically increased with approximately 80 new reports received.  One fisherman alone reported catching as many as 13 individuals over a three-day shrimping trip in Lake Pontchartrain.  A Dulac shrimp dock has reported fishermen capturing in excess of 100 tiger prawns following the 2011 fall season opening.  Most recently, there have also been incident reports west of Vermilion Bay. 

About the species

Asian tiger prawns are native to the Indo-Pacific rim and are both harvested in the wild and extensively farmed in a number of countries.

Tiger prawns belong to the same family (Penaeidae) as our native brown, white and pink shrimp but are non-indigenous to our waters. The life history of tiger prawns is also similar to that of brown and white shrimp with spawning and mating occurring in nearshore oceanic waters. One notable difference in tiger prawns and Louisiana shrimp is size as the research suggests tiger prawns may reach a maximum length of 14 inches and weigh as much as 23 ounces.

At this time, there is no evidence that tiger prawns feed on native Louisiana shrimp.  Any potential impacts over competition for food and resources remain unknown.  Tiger prawns as well as our native brown and white shrimp adopt different diets as they grow and mature and may become more predatory as body size increases.

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 press inquiries contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 765-2396.

 

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Louisiana Men Cited Red Snapper and Amberjack Violations

Release Date: 07/31/2013

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited five Louisiana men for allegedly violating federal reef fish regulations on July 26 in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
Agents federally cited Chad Fonseck, 28, of Waggaman, Troy Coker, 37, of Ponchatoula, Kirby Plaisance, 24, of Ama, Daryl Robert, 43, of Gretna, and Troy Melancon, 45, of Ama, for possessing red snapper during a closed season, over limit of red snapper, failing to keep fish intact, over limit of greater amberjack and possessing greater amberjack during a closed season.
 
Agents on a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol in federal waters in the Gulf were finishing a boating safety check on another vessel when they observed a double rigger shrimp vessel throwing a red snapper back into the water.  Upon approaching the vessel, agents noticed subjects on the deck of the vessel either fishing or helping others fish recreationally.
 
Upon inspection of the vessel, agents found an ice chest filled with 104 red snapper fillets and 20 greater amberjack fillets.  The men did not possess a commercial permit that is needed to harvest and sell reef fish under federal quotas and in excess of the bag limits.
 
The recreational red snapper and greater amberjack seasons are currently closed in federal waters.  During an open season, the five men would have been allowed a total of 10 red snapper and five greater amberjack.  The filets the five men were in possession of represents 52 red snapper and 10 greater amberjack.
 
The five men will face fines and civil restitution charges through federal court if convicted.
 
Agents participating in the case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud, Sgt. Louis Burnett, Agent Jake Jarden and Agent Michael Marques.
 
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.
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Louisiana Shrimp Task Force to Meet Next Week in Houma

Release Date: 07/31/2013

July 31, 2013 – The Louisiana Shrimp Task Force will meet next Tuesday, August 6, at 10:00 a.m.  in Houma in the Terrebonne Parish Council Meeting Room, located on the Second Floor Government Towers at 8026 Main Street, Houma, LA.

The agenda is as follows:

I.  Roll Call and introduction of guests

II.  Approval of March 14, 2013 Minutes and August 6, 2013 Agenda

III.  Treasury Report

  1. Budget Report – Rene LeBreton
  2. Potential Funding to Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board from Shrimp Task Force         

IV.    Old Business

      A. Update on serviceable crab trap law – LDWF Enforcement Representative

      B. Laws regarding setting of seasons – LDWF Representative

      C. Management Opportunities, Skimmer Legislation –Clint Guidry

V.   New Business

  1. Louisiana Hypoxia Working Group- Doug Daigle/Clint Guidry
  2. Discussion on Top Markets for Shrimp
  3. Task Force Vacancies – Marty Bourgeois
  4. Update on Artificial Reef Fund- Jason Froeba
  5. LWSCP Enforcement- Jason Froeba
  6. Steering Committee for LDWF Continuing Education Program-Jason Froeba
  7. Boards and Commissions Meeting Requirements – Ashley Roth
  8. NOAA TED Testing and Observer Programs - Marty Bourgeois
  9. Legislative Update – LDWF Representative
    1. HB 142 – Crab trap mesh size
    2. HB 426 – Composition of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission
    3. SB 167 – Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board
  10. Seafood Processor Survey Results- Jack Isaacs

VI.    Public Comment

VII.  Set Next Meeting

VIII.  Adjourn  

The Louisiana Shrimp Task Force was created by Act 606 of the Louisiana Legislature to study and monitor the shrimp industry and to make recommendations to the state.

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.

This meeting is open to the public.

For more information please contact Ashley Roth at aroth@wlf.la.gov or (228)342-0659.

 

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Investigation Underway for Vandalism of LDWF Property on Atchafalaya Delta WMA

Release Date: 07/29/2013

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office are investigating two acts of vandalism that occurred on the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

An LDWF bulldozer and utility vehicle (UTV) were first noticed missing on July 24 on the Big Island portion of Atchafalaya Delta WMA.  LDWF staff found the missing equipment later that evening on Big Island.  The bulldozer was buried in mud and water up to the floorboard.  The UTV was found stuck in a ditch.

The equipment was vandalized between July 19 when it was last seen by LDWF staff and July 24 when it was noticed missing.

LDWF is offering up to a $1,000 reward for anybody that volunteers information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case.  Anyone with tips or leads can call LDWF’s Operation Game Thief’s (OGT) toll free hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or text LDWF OGT by texting LADWF and their tip to 847411.  Tipsters can also download the LADWF Tips iPhone and Android apps from iTunes and Google Play stores free of charge.

The total damage done to the equipment and the costs associated with retrieving both pieces of equipment are unknown at this time.

The Big Island portion of the Atchafalaya Delta WMA is only accessible by vessel.

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

Aug. 5-6 Public Meetings to Provide Update on Black Bear Research

Release Date: 07/26/2013

July 26, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the University of Tennessee (UT) will hold public meetings in Morganza on Monday, Aug. 5 at 6:30 p.m. and in Franklin on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 6:30 p.m. to present information about black bear population research.

The Aug. 5 meeting will be held at the Pointe Coupee Communication Center, 7011 Mitchell Lane, Morganza and the Aug. 6 meeting is scheduled for the Franklin courthouse in the St. Mary Parish Council meeting room at 500 Main Street, Franklin. 

UT graduate students will present an update on the recently completed population research, including population estimates and density of bears in the area.  The future goals of LDWF bear management and the necessary steps to reach those goals will be discussed.

Following the presentation there will be a question and answer period to allow for general discussion about bears in Louisiana and living with bears.  There will also be examples of various bear deterrent devices on display. For more information contact:  Maria Davidson at 337-948-0255 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov .

The Louisiana 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.

 

Leads Needed for Missing Buoys off Independence Island Reef

Release Date: 07/25/2013

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division is requesting any leads regarding missing mooring buoys on Independence Island Reef.

Six mooring buoys, which were part of a 2011 restoration project, went missing in late June from the popular fishing spot located about 3 miles northeast of Grand Isle.  The buoys are provided to allow fisherman with an identifiable marker of the famed fishing spot.

Anyone with tips or leads can call LDWF’s Operation Game Thief’s (OGT) toll free hotline 1-800-442-2511 or text the LDWF OGT by texting LADWF and their tip to 847411.  Tipsters can also download the LADWF Tips iPhone and Android apps from iTunes and Google Play stores free of charge.

Removing buoys brings up a $250 to $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and LDWF completed construction in 2011 on Independence Island Reef, which is believed to be the largest limestone inshore artificial reef project ever in Louisiana.

Nearly 8,000 tons of limestone were dropped from barges onto four acres where Independence Island was once located.  At the time of the project completion, the total site acreage was more than 50 acres.

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

Lake Charles Residents Can Expect a Decline in Giant Salvinia Growth on Calcasieu River

Release Date: 07/25/2013

(July 25, 2013) – Lake Charles residents can expect to see some relief in the presence of giant salvinia on the Calcasieu River thanks to environmental factors in combination with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ control efforts.

Increased salinities on the Calcasieu River are taking a toll on giant salvinia growth on the water body.  A wetter than usual spring caused a decrease in salinity levels, creating an environment more conducive for plant growth.  However, conditions are returning to normal, and a recent boat assessment revealed that most of the plants below the saltwater barrier are dead or dying.  Allowing salinity to kill the salvinia proves to be the most cost-effective method in achieving maximum control of the plant.  With that in mind, the Department is focusing their control efforts on the upper end of the river.

Areas above the saltwater barrier, including the West Fork, have also shown signs of minimal growth, with only scattered plants observed at some locations.  Weevils were heavily stocked in these areas through the Department’s weevil stocking program.  Weevil damage was observed in these areas and adjacent public waters.  This evidence of weevil activity on the plant is encouraging for future control.

LDWF will continue to monitor the plant, particularly in places with lower salinities, and herbicide treatments will be made on public waterways as needed to maintain control of the plant throughout the year. 

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 press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 765-2396.

 

 

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