LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Agents Looking For Leads Into Bald Eagle Killings

Release Date: 12/08/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement special agents are seeking information regarding the killing of two federally protected southern bald eagles.

Agents believe both eagles were killed on or about Dec. 7 on the East Bank area of Plaquemines Parish.

Deputy Roy Lally of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office discovered the first illegally killed bald eagle along the Mississippi River levee near the town of Phoenix located in Plaquemines Parish. LDWF Senior Agent Brett Nabors responded to the area to take custody of the bird and begin an investigation.

During the ensuing search of the area where the first eagle was found, LDWF Lt. Robert Martin found a second dead eagle. Agents believe that both eagles were killed using the same method. Both eagles were delivered to the USFWS and will be forensically tested for cause of death.

The southern bald eagle is listed on the Endangered Species list, and fines up to $100,000 may be imposed for shooting or injuring the bird. Anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party is eligible for significant cash rewards.

Anyone with information may call Special Agent Stephen Clark at the USFWS office in Lacombe at 985-882-3756 or the LDWF Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-442-2511.

For more information, contact Capt. Steve McManus at the LDWF Region 8 Enforcement Office at 504-284-2024 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana’s Historic Conservation Magazine Goes Live

Release Date: 12/08/2010

The first online magazine for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) was launched on Tues, Dec. 7, opening the gateway for global exposure to the well-known and historical document, Louisiana Conservationist magazine (LCM).

As with many traditional publications these days, the LCM ceased printed publication in Spring 2010 with plans to launch an electronic version in the summer. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, however, postponed the magazine's new electronic format, consuming LDWF staff’s time during the summer. Now, just in time to finish out 2010 the Louisiana Conservationist is available again in a web page format viewable in any browser http://louisianaconservationist.org or in a book format featuring the familiar magazine-style layout. http://louisianaconservationist.org/current

Each issue will contain the same great stories and photography that was the hallmark of the printed magazine. Articles in this first online issue include details on LDWF’s efforts throughout the recent oil spill disaster, great gun cleaning tips and recipes from the 2010 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans.   Links to related web sites, department videos, and photographs are scattered throughout the magazine along with all the popular social networking tools.  The new site also offers the option to create a username, allowing for access to comments and notification of upcoming editions.

“We are excited about this new venture for the Conservationist,” commented LDWF Secretary Robert Barham,  “Moving forward with an online version invites the entire world to step inside and see our great state from a closer view.”

First printed in 1926, Louisiana Conservationist magazine was created to keep Louisiana citizens informed and educated on fish and game regulations and conservation programs.  It has survived through the generations, evolving and changing with the world.  Today its legacy continues, moving forward with the electronic age. 

For more information contact Marianne Burke, Public Information Director at mburke@wlf.la.govor 225-765-2917.

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.

Oyster Season Will Remain Closed for Public Seed Grounds

Release Date: 12/03/2010

Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will re-evaluate season opening in January

The 2010/2011 oyster season will remain closed for public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi and in Hackberry Bay. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission did not take action to open the season, which was originally scheduled to open on November 15, 2010. The Commission originally made the decision to keep the season closed for public grounds in order to help rebuild the natural resource for future use by the commercial and recreational industries.

Biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recommended to the Commission that the 2010/2011 season for these public seed grounds remain closed in order to allow for a reproductive event currently taking place in some waters east of the Mississippi River to continue. This reproductive event has lead to the a large number of spat (young oysters less than one inch in length) in some areas. Allowing the spat to mature will aid in rebuilding the area’s oyster resource.

LDWF biologists documented high mortality rates in some harvesting areas throughout the summer months, which added to the depletion oysters in these public seed grounds. The public grounds east of the Mississippi River contribute approximately 28% of all oyster harvest in Louisiana on an annual basis.

The Commission with re-evaluate whether or not to open the 2010/2011 oyster season at its next meeting on January 6, 2011.

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.

L.W.F.C. Welcomes New Commissioner Billy Broussard at December Meeting

Release Date: 12/02/2010

Billy Broussard

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) today welcomed Billy Broussard of Pecan Island to the seat previously held by Earl King. Governor Bobby Jindal announced the appointment of Broussard in November, replacing Mr. King, who resigned due to health issues. Broussard, a coastal parish resident, will serve as a representative of the commercial fishing and fur industries, as required by statute.  He owns and operates Pecan Island Redfish Charters.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission was created to protect, conserve and replenish the natural resources and wildlife of the state, including all aquatic life. The commission has the authority to establish definite management programs and policies and to approve and accept all contracts at its discretion. According to the statute, the commission is comprised of seven members appointed by the governor, subject to senate confirmation. Members include three residents of the coastal parishes of the state who are representatives of the commercial fishing and fur industries and four members from the state at large.

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

Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Announce Dec. 7 Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 12/02/2010

Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council
Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 - 1:30 p.m.
Louisiana 4th Floor Conference Room
Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries Headquarters
2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, La.  70808

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of Minutes of Sept. 21, 2010
  3. Welcome and Opening Comments
    Woody Crews, Chairman
  4. Organization Overview: LSU AgCenter
    Dr. Donald Reed
  5. Enforcement Division Report: Boating Safety Course Compliance
    Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne
  6. Office of Fisheries: Tilapia Control in Plaquemines Parish
    Dr. Tom Lorenz, University of New Orleans
  7. Whooping Crane Re-introduction Project
    Robert Love, Office of Wildlife, CNR Division
  8. 2010-11 Duck Season Update
    Larry Reynolds, Office of Wildlife, Wildlife Division
  9. Sector Separation
    Woody Crews, Chairman
  10. Set Next Meeting Date
  11. Receive Public Comments
  12. Adjournment

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

Amended Agenda for December Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Release Date: 11/29/2010

The next regular Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, December 2, 2010, 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 November 4, 2010
  3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
  4. To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/November
  5. To hear presentation on NAWCA Project Update on Russell Sage WMA
  6. To consider Declaration of Emergency and Notice of Intent on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill
  7. To consider Declaration of Emergency to Close Portions of State Outside Waters to Shrimping
  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 Notice of Intent on Oyster Lease Relocation for Leases Not Available for Renewal Due to those Leases Being Located Within a Public Oyster Seed Ground
  10. Set April 2011 Meeting Date
  11. Receive Public Comments
  12. Adjournment

Agenda Set for December Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Release Date: 11/23/2010

The next regular Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 2, 2010, 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 November 4, 2010
  3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
  4. To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/November
  5. To hear presentation on NAWCA Project Update on Russell Sage WMA
  6. To consider Declaration of Emergency and Notice of Intent on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill
  7. To consider Declaration of Emergency to open the Primary Public Oyster Seed Grounds East of the Mississippi River and the Hackberry Bay Seed Reservation
  8. To consider Notice of Intent on Oyster Lease Relocation for Leases Not Available for Renewal Due to those Leases Being Located Within a Public Oyster Seed Ground
  9. Set April 2011 Meeting Date
  10. Receive Public Comments
  11. Adjournment

Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet Next Tuesday

Release Date: 11/22/2010

The Louisiana Oyster Task Force will meet next Tuesday, November 30 at 1:00 PM at the UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, suite 210 in New Orleans, LA.

The agenda is as follows:

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of August 27, 2010 MINUTES
  3. Approval of October 19, 2010 MINUTES
  4. Treasury Report
    1. Oyster Tag Sales
    2. LOTF Financial Report 
  5. Committee Reports
    1. Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee – (Buddy Pausina)
    2. Enforcement - (Keith Lacaze)
    3. Legislative - (Jakov Jurisic)
    4. Research – (John Supan)
    5. Coastal Restoration – (Dan Coulon)
    6. Marketing - (Dana Brocato)
  6. Old Business
    1. Public Seed Grounds Oyster Season – Update
    2. BP Oil Spill Update
      1. Claims Process
      2. Public Reef Damages
      3. Oyster Lease Damages
      4. NRDA Sampling of Private Oyster leases
    3. Oyster Lease Moratorium – Jerome Zeringue
  7. New Business
    1. Public Relations – Oyster Industry and Coastal Restoration
    2. Sherwood Gagliano-Restoration of Oyster Grounds and industry in St. Bernard Parish (Dana Brocato)
    3. ISSC Meeting (Al Sunseri)
  8. Set Next Meeting

The public and private oyster grounds committee will meet at 10 AM, prior to the Oyster Task Force meeting, to discuss relocation of non- renewed leases and relocation sites for leases in the public seed ground.
These meetings are open to the public.

For more information please contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or 225.765.2335. 

State Officials Finalize Deal to Fund Projects to Restore Louisiana’s Seafood and Tourism Industries

Release Date: 11/19/2010

LDWF and Lt. Gov. Angelle secure $48 Million dedicated to seafood safety and marketing; $30 million for tourism marketing

Late yesterday evening, Lt. Governor Scott A. Angelle and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham finalized plans with BP to fund marketing efforts aimed at revitalizing Louisiana’s tourism and seafood industries. Both industries were drastically impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The agreement finalized on November 18, 2010 requires BP to fund $18 million in seafood safety and monitoring, $30 million in seafood marketing and $30 million in tourism marketing.

The agreement in principle was announced on November 1 in New Orleans at Acme Oyster House. Negotiations then continued to facilitate a memorandum of understanding to solidify the details.

Through negotiations with BP, Lt. Gov. Angelle was able to secure tourism funds for $5 million per quarter for six quarters, rather than the original distribution schedule or $10 million per year for three years. The new schedule will allow for a surge of funds if necessary to address impacts.

Consistent with BP’s requirements, the agreement will invest a total of $21 million (70%) into Louisiana’s coastal parishes and New Orleans for the purpose of tourism recovery. The parishes of St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Lafourche, and Terrebonne will each receive $2.166 million for a total of $13 million (43.34%). Additionally, the City of New Orleans will receive $6 million (20%) and the parishes of St. Mary, Iberia, Vermilion and Cameron will each receive $500,000 for a total of $2 million (6.66%). The remaining 53 parishes will split $2.5 million (8.33%) distributed using a tiered methodology based on proximity to coast and population.

The remaining $6.5 million (21.67%) will be used by the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (CRT) to plan and execute, in conjunction with the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association (LTPA), a marketing and advertising campaign branding Louisiana as a destination. A portion of CRT’s $6.5 million will also provide tourism event support. A breakdown of fund allocation by parish can be viewed here: http://www.crt.state.la.us/press/2010/Bp_Parish_Allocation_plan.pdf.

“In Louisiana, our tourism and our seafood are inextricably intertwined. The success of one determines the success of the other, and in Louisiana we would have it no other way,” said Lt. Gov. Angelle. “I am pleased that we have reached an agreement with BP on the distribution of these much-deserved tourism recovery funds. After over 100 days of negative visual coverage, the Louisiana tourism brand was tarnished. Potential vacationers canceled plans, restaurants stopped serving Louisiana seafood and the perception existed that our state was dirty and covered with oil. I believe that with these funds, Louisiana and its parishes can take the next step toward revitalizing our image to visitors.”

“This is a real step forward in our commitment to ensure seafood safety, both for our citizens and for the rest of the country. We are excited that BP has committed to funding seafood safety and monitoring programs so that we may continue to protect all those who enjoy Louisiana Gulf seafood,” said LDWF Secretary Barham. “We now also have the opportunity to fund seafood and tourism marketing, ensuring that we can begin the hard work to restore the image of Louisiana seafood and the places that serve it. Today marks the next phase in the recovery for our seafood industry and the communities along our coast, which are so integral to the character and identity of our state.”

“We’re very glad that a portion of the funding will go directly to Plaquemines Parish. We’ve said from the beginning that the parishes most affected by the oil spill are the ones who carry the burden, both in product sales and product marketing. We’re pleased that that money will soon flow to the impacted parishes, the ones who know best how to promote their area for seafood and tourism,” said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser. “I was especially pleased to learn that Lt. Governor Angelle was able to negotiate a surge in funding from 36 months to 18 months. That will help us immensely.”

“No place in Louisiana has seen tourism evaporate like Grand Isle. We will work with Jefferson Parish and our regional partners to make Grand Isle a number one destination again,” added David Carmadelle, Mayor of Grand Isle.

“Out of adversity comes opportunity,” said Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board Chairman Harlon Pearce. “Thanks to the efforts of Lt. Governor Angelle, Secretary Barham and Governor Bobby Jindal’s staff we have the opportunity to create the future we want for Louisiana’s seafood industry. The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

“Both our tourism - particularly our world-class charter boat fishing - and seafood industries were devastated by the oil spill,” said Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph. “These funds will assist us in making great strides to revitalize those industries and make sure everyone knows that Lafourche Parish is still a great tourism destination.”

"One last piece of the puzzle that will make the Louisiana Seafood Community whole is the ability to return the perception of our seafood products in the marketplace to the high quality, fresh and available seafood products as it was prior to the spill,” said Mike Voison, member of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, and owner and CEO of Motivatit Seafood. “With BP's commitment to seafood marketing and safety dollars this should help to get us back to this point.”

“Since our coast was the hardest hit, both physically and economically, it makes sense to allocate most of the funds to Louisiana’s coastal areas,” said Paul Arrigo, CDME President and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We appreciate the state’s efforts to allow the other parishes who were indirectly affected by the spill to share a portion of the tourism recovery funds.”

“On behalf of the parish leadership across the state, I agree that it is good public policy to include every parish in Louisiana in the tourism recovery fund allocation,” said Roland Dartez, Executive Director of the Louisiana Police Jury Association. “Given that tourism was adversely affected in all regions of the state, we are grateful for this opportunity that will aide in mending the unique brand of each individual parish.”

Seafood Safety, Monitoring and Marketing

Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry represents $2.4 billion annually and is responsible for supporting more than 26,000 jobs throughout the state. The BP oil spill kept waters off Louisiana’s coast closed throughout some of the seasons’ most productive moths.

Although 98.5 percent of the state’s waters have been re-opened to both commercial and recreational fishing, the industry has taken a hit. From January through August in 2010 compared to a four-year average (from 2006 to 2009) commercial shrimp landings were down 51 percent, crab landings were down 33 percent and oysters landings were down 35 percent.

The agreement signed today provides $18 million to LDWF for seafood safety testing and monitoring efforts in conjunction with the Louisiana departments of Environmental Quality, Health and Hospitals, and Agriculture and Forestry. This funding will allow Louisiana officials to continue to sample, monitor and test Louisiana seafood from the Gulf waters off its coast.

Since the spill began, more than 300,000 individual shrimp, crab, finfish and oysters have been tested at independent labs; none have been found to contain hydrocarbons at “levels of concern” established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

LDWF will also receive $30 million for the promotion of Louisiana Gulf seafood to be spent in conjunction with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB).

LDWF is still in negotiations with BP to secure funding for a saltwater hatchery and an oyster cultch program, which are crucial to the state’s recovery plan.

Tourism Funding

BP has agreed to the state’s request to compensate the losses in Louisiana’s tourism industry with $30 million in funding to help the industry get back on its feet. Under the agreement with BP, $30 million will be provided to the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (CRT) over three years to support the marketing of Louisiana as a tourist destination. This funding and the three-year commitment also would be reset upon any oiling that would trigger the closure of fishing areas.

The agreement will invest a total of $21 million (70%) into Louisiana’s coastal parishes for the purpose of tourism recovery. Additionally, $2.5 million (8%) will be distributed to the remaining parishes so that tourism damage can be mitigated using a decentralized approach. The remaining $6.5 million (21%) will be used by the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism to plan and execute, in conjunction with the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association (LTPA), a marketing and advertising campaign branding Louisiana as a destination. A portion of CRT’s $6.5 million will also provide tourism event support. The use of CRT’s funds will be approved through a plan submitted by the newly-elected Lt. Governor.

The $30 million will be invested in:

A Louisiana Tourism Campaign, including a focus on nature-based tourism - $10.5 million

The $10.5 million will be distributed to:

  • $5 million – Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism
  • $2.5 million – Six physically impacted parishes making up the Louisiana Tourism Coastal Coalition (LTCC)
    • St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Terrebonne, Lafourche Parishes 
    • $416,666,67 each
  • $500,000 – Four remaining coastal parishes comprising the LTCC
    • Iberia, St. Mary, Vermilion, Cameron
    • $125,000 each
  • $2.5 million – 53 remaining parishes

A Coastal Tourism Response - $6 million

The $6 million will be distributed to:

  • $4.5 million – Six physically impacted parishes making up the LTCC
    • St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Terrebonne, Lafourche Parishes
    • $750,000 each
  • $1.5 million - Four remaining coastal parishes comprising the LTCC
    • Iberia, St. Mary, Vermilion, Cameron
    • $375,000 each

Greater New Orleans Tourism Response - $6 million

Tourism Events - $7.5 million

The $7.5 million will be distributed to:

  • $6 million - Six physically impacted parishes making up the LTCC
    • St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, Terrebonne, Lafourche Parishes
    • $1 million each
  • $1.5 million – Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism
    • Funds will be used for statewide tourism event support

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 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov, or Anna Dearmon at the Office of the Lt. Governor at 225-252-3529 or adearmon@crt.state.la.us.
 

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