LDWF News Release

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.


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


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.


St. Bernard Parish Man Arrested By L.D.W.F. Agents For Falsifying Commercial Fishing Information

Release Date: 11/15/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) arrested a St. Bernard Parish man on Nov. 15 for allegedly falsifying commercial fishing catch information submitted to the department.

Glenn J. Cascio Jr., 30, of Arabi, allegedly falsified 16 trip ticket documents dated from Jan. 1, 2010 through May 3, 2010 in order to file a claim with BP America due to the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Cascio was charged with three felonies for filing false public records, injuring public records and theft by fraud and was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. The trip tickets were filed with LDWF and represented 43,264 pounds of crab at a value of $38,570. According to the arrest warrant, Cascio stated that he received a total of $10,000 from BP America.

SIU agents, Lt. Jay Diez and Senior Agent Edward Ridgel, met with Cascio on Nov. 6 after receiving a complaint from the department's trip ticket section that Cascio did not possess a commercial fishing license during the timeframe specified on the trip tickets. According to the arrest warrant, Cascio admitted to not catching or selling any crab from Jan. 1 to May 3 and that he falsified the trip ticket information in order to file a claim with BP America.

If convicted, Cascio faces 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 fraud charge, Cascio faces a fine up to $3,000 and up to 10 years in jail with or without hard labor.

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 and the management of the state's seafood resources.

"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, which can damage the basis of having the best scientific information available to manage the seafood resources."

This is the fifth arrest made by LDWF agents in connection with allegedly falsifying commercial fishing information to receive compensations from BP America since August.

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


L.D.W.F. Agents Find Deceased Boater In St. Bernard Parish

Release Date: 11/15/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents found the deceased body of an overdue Mississippi boater near Martin Island in St. Bernard Parish shortly before noon on Nov. 14.

Agents found the body of David McAdory, 63, of Madison County, Miss. near his anchored boat in the Chandeleur Sound portion of Louisiana waters.

Agents responded to a report of an overdue boater out of Mississippi in the late afternoon hours of Nov. 13.  Agents later found the anchored boat with fishing lines still in the water with no one on board and searched until nightfall with the assistance of U.S. Coast Guard helicopters for the body of McAdory. 

Agents found McAdory’s body without a personal flotation device in eight to 10 foot of water.  Agents transported the deceased body and his vessel to the Fort Beauregard landing where the St. Bernard Parish Coroner assumed custody of the body to determine a cause of death.

LDWF agents do no suspect foul play at this time as the victim suffered from an unspecified medical condition, which may have contributed to his death.

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


L.D.W.F. Advisory for Duck Hunters Encountering Ongoing Oil Spill Activities During 2010-11 Season

Release Date: 11/10/2010

In advance of the opening of the regular duck season this weekend, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising duck hunters to remain aware of ongoing activities in coastal areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The 2010-11 duck season will run from Nov. 13 through Jan. 30 and hunters may encounter clean-up crews and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) teams gathering samples for testing. Clean-up activities continue in the marshes, bays and on beaches of coastal southeast Louisiana. In addition, NRDA data collection activities involving aerial and boat surveys, fish trapping, and submerged aquatic vegetation sampling may be seen in some areas. Hunters are required to stay at least 65 feet from any existing clean-up operation or equipment and are asked to be tolerant and respectful of this important work.

The U.S. Coast Guard and oil spill response operations personnel have been briefed and will delay initiating work to reduce crowding at boat ramps and marsh disturbance during the popular early-morning hunting hours on opening weekend. Hunters are advised that for the duration of the season, clean-up crews will be easily recognized as clusters of workers wearing white Tyvek suits and their presence puts added emphasis on standard gun-safety procedures.

If a hunter harvests an oiled bird, it must be kept as part of the daily bag limit, but LDWF is advising hunters NOT to eat visibly oiled ducks. Hunters are asked to report any oiled bird harvested or any other oiled birds observed in the field to LDWF at (225) 278-8082. If a harvested bird is observed to be oiled, wrap the bird in aluminum foil or paper and deliver it to the nearest LDWF field office or active bag check station so the bird can be analyzed and become part of the oil spill damage assessment.

For more information please contact Larry Reynolds, LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader, at (225) 765-0456 or lreynolds@wlf.la.gov.


Public Can Call 1-800-LITRBUG For Littering Complaints

Release Date: 11/09/2010

Public Can Call 1-800-LITRBUG For Littering Complaints

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advocating the public to call the "Litterbug Hotline" whenever they witness somebody littering or observe an illegal dumping site.

The "Litterbug Hotline" is now housed inside the LDWF Enforcement Division and littering tipsters can call 1-888-LITRBUG or 1-888-548-7284 to report any potential littering violations.

"This hotline is being manned 24 hours a day and we welcome all littering clues and complaints from the public as we strive to keep Louisiana's roadsides, woods and waterways clean," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the Enforcement Division. "Each tip will be investigated by our agents and other litter law enforcement agency partners."

Those convicted of litter violations face between $75 and $1,000 in fines and up to eight hours in a litter abatement work program. Dumping violations can carry even more penalties and higher fines depending on the severity of the dumpsite and the damage to the environment.

If witnessing somebody throwing trash out of a vehicle window or trash blowing out of a pickup truck bed, please call the hotline with the make, model and color of the vehicle and the roadway location. The hotline is also the number to call for detecting or knowing of an unauthorized trash or dumpsite. All callers can remain anonymous.

As a part of the Governor's Office strategy to streamline public services, the LDWF Enforcement Division communication's section took over the litter hotline from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The LDWF Enforcement Division communication's section also handles the Operation Game Thief hotline that takes calls for hunting and fishing violation tips.

Since June 1, the Enforcement Division has received 474 calls through the hotline including 161 calls from East Baton Rouge Parish and 61 from St. Tammany Parish.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents issued 1,001 littering citations for fiscal year 2009-10 and logged 7,958 patrol hours for littering enforcement.

According to Keep Louisiana Beautiful, littering costs Louisiana taxpayers $40 million annually in cleanup fees. Littering also contributes to flooding, lowers property values and damages wildlife habitat.

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


LDWF Reopens Commercial Crab Fishing in Mississippi River Delta

Release Date: 11/08/2010

LDWF Reopens Commercial Crab Fishing in Mississippi River Delta
LDWF Reopens Commercial Crab Fishing in Mississippi River Delta

Reopening effective immediately; 98.5% of state waters reopened for commercial fishing

Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ordered an emergency reopening of commercial crabbing in portions of state inside and outside territorial waters within the Mississippi River Delta previously closed due to the BP oil spill.
LDWF Secretary Robert Barham ordered this opening following the completion of comprehensive testing by the FDA. The FDA has advised that following extensive sensory testing and analytical chemistry results, the crab tissue samples tested from these previously closed areas are safe for consumption.

Commercial crab fishing reopens immediately today, November 8, 2010. The reopening includes portions of state waters extending seaward a minimum distance of one-quarter mile or more from the shoreline between the northern shore of Pass a Loutre and 29 degrees 12 minutes 40 seconds north latitude and the western shore of Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River and 89 degrees 25 minutes 00 seconds west longitude. For a detailed description of the latitude and longitude lines for which the reopening applies, click here.

Recreational and commercial fishing for shrimp and finfish were previously opened in these waters on October 28. The harvest of oysters is regulated by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; harvesting areas remain closed in portions of these waters.

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. 


Louisiana Environmental Education Commission November Agenda

Release Date: 11/08/2010

Meeting Agenda
November 10, 2010
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
Baton RougeOffice, Louisiana Room
1 PM

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll Call/Sign-in
  3. Introduction
  4. Minutes from last meeting
  5. Financial Report
  6. Coordinator’s Report
  7. Old Business
    1. 2011 Symposium Committee reports
      1. Audio Visual
      2. Door Prize/Hospitality
      3. Evaluation
      4. Exhibitor
      5. Finance
      6. Keynote
      7. Lodging Assistance
      8. Programs
      9. Public Relations
      10. Registration
    2. Environmental Literacy Plan
  8. New Business
    1. 2011 Environmental Awareness Art & Language Arts Contest
    2. 2011 Grants Program
    3. LEEC vote of officers
  9. Announcements
    1. 2011 Calendars are ready for pick up
  10. Next Meeting Dates: February 12, 2011 (at Symposium), May 10, 2011, August 9, 2011
  11. Adjournment   

For more information, please contact Venise Ortego at 337-948-0255 or vortego@wlf.la.gov.

Thistlethwaite Wildlife Management Area Lease Renewed

Release Date: 11/05/2010

John R. "Ric" Thistlethwaite III, Patrick F. Thistlethwaite, LDWF Sec. Robert Barham and Lawrence Thistlethwaite III

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Thistlethwaite heirs announced the renewal of the lease agreement for Thistlethwaite Wildlife Management Area (WMA) at the Nov. 5 commission meeting.  

This agreement renews the 10-year lease, free of charge, for Thistlethwaite WMA, encompassing 11,000 acres in St. Landry Parish.  Through the cooperative effort of the private landowners, Thistlethwaite WMA has been a part of LDWF’s WMA system since 1966.

“The Thistlethwaite’s gift is a perfect example of the commitment outdoorsmen have to conservation,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “We honor the Thistlethwaite family for their generous contribution and for ensuring future generations enjoy wildlife and related recreation in this area.”

This property features a vast array of outdoor recreational opportunities for the public. The WMA includes 11 miles of nature trails to make hunting as well as birding and nature walks more accessible.

The WMA is a bottomland hardwood area and is home to a variety of game and non-game wildlife species including whitetail deer, squirrels, rabbits, woodcock and wood ducks.  Various species of songbirds and wading birds reside on the property as well.  

Additional information may be obtained by calling 337-948-0255.


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