LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to Meet Wednesday Feb. 16

Release Date: 02/15/2011

Feb. 15, 2011 – The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will meet tomorrow, February 16, 2011 at 1 p.m. at the UNO Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in Suite 210, in New Orleans.

The agenda for tomorrow’s meeting is as follows:

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call
  3. Approval of minutes from December 15, 2010
  4. Reports
    1. Guest Presentations
      1. Jeffry Zehnder- Zehnder Communications. Boston booth, new photography and social media update
      2. Mark Schexnayder-WLF- certification and traceability update. Disaster recovery grant programs update.
    2. Executive Directors Report
    3. Treasurers Report
      1. update on BP funds
  5. New Business
    1. Sub Committee discussion (Executive, Funding, Legislative, Education and Marketing).
    2. Boston Seafood Show
    3. Updates List of Events
    4. Samuel H. Green School and the edible garden
    5. School lunch programs
    6. Foodways Texas Symposium – Kim Chauvin
  6. Set Next Meeting
  7. Adjourn

This meeting is open to the public.

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.

For more information contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or (225) 610-2363.

State Rolls Out Nearly $8 Million to Seafood Dealers

Release Date: 02/15/2011

Feb. 15, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in coordination with the Office of Community Development (OCD) - Disaster Recovery Unit, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), began distributing nearly $8 million last month for the Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Grant Program, a federally funded program aimed at aiding certain fisheries-related businesses that were affected by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

“Our fishing communities have spent the last five years battling back from disaster after disaster. Each time, they find a way to rebuild and get back to work. This program is an incredible opportunity to help our fishing communities continue to recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We are grateful to our state and industry partners for helping us make distributing assistance funds a reality.”

The $8 million Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Grant Program was designed to assist certain fishery-related businesses that were in the industry in 2008 and currently remain in business. In order to qualify, businesses were required to provide supporting tax documentation and to be able to document a minimum $15,000 tangible loss or decline in business. Once grant qualifications were met, applicants became eligible for a grant of the amount of their loss, not to exceed $100,000.

“The fishing and seafood industry is a vital part of Louisiana’s economy, and the state is committed to helping local fishermen continue to recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater. “The funds from the Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Program, along with the upcoming grants through the Commercial Fisheries Program, will help Louisiana’s fisherman and help boost seafood businesses.”

Louisiana also created a Commercial Fisherman Grant Program to assist Louisiana fishermen who held a commercial fishing license in 2008, are still licensed, and continue to recover from the impacts of hurricanes Gustav and Ike. It is anticipated this program will begin in early March.

"The Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority under the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry was already set up to help distribute relief funds for our agricultural producers," LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain said. "We were asked to help LDWF and LAFA was the perfect fund-distribution mechanism for the program. We got the money in the hands of seafood dealers quickly and efficiently."

Individuals who held both a Wholesale/Retail Dealer license and a Commercial Fishing license were only allowed to participate in one program.

Both programs are funded using Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) funds, which were set aside for aid to the fishing industry after it suffered more than $750 million in losses in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita Gustav and Ike. In total, Louisiana received more than $1 billion in CDBG funding for recovery from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, most of which the state has allocated directly to parishes for community recovery activities.

LDWF, OCD and LDAF hosted a series of outreach meetings during the spring of 2010 in coastal communities to provide more information to interested individuals.

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.

The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.

For more information from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, please contact Laura Deslatte at (225)610-2363 or at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov. For more information from the Office of Community Development, please contact Christina Stephens at (225) 603-3896 or Christina.stephens@la.gov. For more information from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, please contact Sam Irwin at (225) 922-1256 or sirwin@ldaf.state.la.us

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Maurice Man for Negligent Homicide

Release Date: 02/14/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Maurice man on Sunday, Feb. 13 for negligent homicide, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence for his alleged role in the death of an overdue hunter.

Quint Mire, 47, of Maurice, allegedly shot and killed Julian Gajan, 56, of Abbeville, on Wednesday, Feb. 9 while the two were hunting near White Lake located in Vermilion Parish.

On Thursday, Feb. 10 the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office contacted LDWF about an overdue hunter. It was reported that Gajan was last seen Wednesday afternoon at 11:30 a.m. when he left by boat to go hunting.

Gajan’s boat was located in a canal tied to a tree off of Schooner Bayou on the east side of White Lake where he hunts. A search of the marsh and surrounding areas was organized. Agencies participating in the search were the LDWF Enforcement Division, Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard, the Angola State Penitentiary K-9 Chase Team and the Patterson Police Department's K-9 Unit.

Rescuers searched until 1 a.m. on Friday morning and resumed the search at daylight Friday morning. The search was suspended at dark Friday night and again resumed at daylight Saturday morning.

Rescuers located Gajan’s body at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12 on a canal levee in the marsh approximately one mile from his boat. Investigators revealed that he was shot with buckshot.

On Sunday morning, Quint Mire came forward and stated to investigators that he accidentally shot Gajan while hunting on Wednesday. According to Mire, he dropped Gajan off on the canal levee then went down and positioned himself farther down the same levee to wait for Gajan to drive a deer past his location. Mire said that he thought Gajan was a deer as he walked through the trees and shot him.

Mire was booked into the Vermilion Parish Jail. The LDWF Enforcement Division and Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office are continuing the investigation of this incident.

If convicted of all three charges, Mire faces up to 28 years in jail and up to $65,000 in fines.

Agents who participated in the search and investigation were Lt. Bobby Buatt, Sgts. Keith Delahoussaye, Kane Thomas and Aaron Herpin, and Senior Agents Justin Sonnier, Lonnie Campbell, Anthony Verret, Derek Logan, Donald Murray and Jason Stagg.

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

L.D.W.F. Investigating Boating Incident in Gulf that Resulted in Four Fatalities

Release Date: 02/13/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries staff and Enforcement Division agents are investigating a boating incident that left four people dead in the Gulf of Mexico on Feb. 12.

The four deceased bodies found in the Gulf were Wayne Dowsey, 61, of Point Clear, Ala., and who was the owner and operator of the vessel; Randy Dowsey, 58, of Fairhope, Ala.; Kerri Burns, 33, of Fairhope, Ala.; and Kenny Mock, 58, of Metairie. The lone survivor was Heath Dowsey, 33, of Fairhope, Ala; who was the son of Randy and nephew of Wayne.

According to Heath, the five left from Venice around 6:30 a.m. for a fishing trip. They left out of the South Pass into the Gulf of Mexico and were about 2 to 3 miles offshore when one of the engines in the twin engine vessel abruptly shut down between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

When checking out the engine, they noticed the back of the boat filling with water, which prompted the operator to turn off the other engine. With both engines turned off, the boat then rapidly filled with water and within minutes the boat was listing to one side according to Heath.

The five were able to grab four life jackets, but were unable to put them on before the boat capsized sending all five into the cold waters of the Gulf. Heath was able to hang on to the rope from the bow of the boat, and the other four were able to hang on to the life jackets and side of the boat. Heath eventually made his way onto the hull of the capsized boat getting himself out of the cold water.

According to Heath, around 1 p.m. an offshore supply vessel located the capsized vessel with Heath on top. The crew boat was able to take Heath into their boat and locate the other four people who had drifted away from the capsized vessel.

Within minutes, an LDWF Office of Fisheries vessel that was in the area doing field work came across the capsized boat and crew boat where the four bodies were still floating lifeless. The LDWF Office of Fisheries Vessel was able to transport the deceased bodies to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Venice. Heath was also transferred to a U.S. Coast Guard vessel for transport to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Venice.

Heath was treated for mild hypothermia by emergency medical workers at the U.S. Coast Guard station. It is unknown at this time if the four people perished from drowning or hypothermia.

The LDWF Enforcement Division will investigate the incident to determine a cause. At this time, LDWF does not suspect drugs or alcohol involvement. The LDWF Enforcement Division and Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office will attempt to recover the capsized vessel for the investigation.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-354-9517 (Cell) or 225-765-2465 (Work).

Allen Parish District Attorney Provides Essential Equipment to Local L.D.W.F. Enforcement Agents

Release Date: 02/11/2011

Feb. 11, 2011 - Allen Parish District Attorney Todd Nesom recently donated equipment to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents patrolling Allen, Beauregard and Evangeline parishes.

Nesom provided two spotting scopes with tripods, a night vision monocular, and a Garmin Map 76 global positioning system (GPS) among other equipment valued at $3,200 to the agents.

Agents in the Allen, Beauregard and Evangeline parishes will utilize this equipment enforcing the West Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Ouiska Chitto River and other night hunting activities in Allen Parish.

Agents completed 54 night hunting related cases this past hunting season in Allen, Beauregard and Evangeline parishes with 35 of those cases occurring in Allen Parish in the vicinity of West Bay WMA. Agents also generated 300 cases during the spring and summer of 2010 on the Ouiska Chitto River along the nine-mile stretch utilized by the local canoe rental companies of Mittie.

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.

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

Louisiana Seafood Still Safe to Eat; Average Consumer Could Eat 63 lbs of Louisiana Shrimp, Each Day for 5 Years

Release Date: 02/10/2011

Louisiana state officials confirm seafood safety; state has tested more than 1,000 composite samples of Louisiana seafood since start of BP oil spill

(Feb. 10, 2011) – The average consumer could eat 63 pounds of shrimp each day for five years before reaching the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “levels of concern” for oil contamination according to Louisiana state officials. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that levels of contaminants being found in Gulf seafood are so low that the average consumer would have to consume extreme amounts of seafood before approaching a level that approaches a health risk, according to the FDA.

State officials with LDWF and the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) examined the levels of contaminates associated with the BP oil spill, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), being found in Louisiana seafood that have been collected throughout the spill and determined that the levels were so low that they do not pose a risk to consumers. The average consumer could eat any of the following amounts of seafood each day for up to five years without exceeding the health risks for contamination:

  • 63 pounds of peeled Louisiana shrimp, or 1,575 jumbo shrimp,
  • 5 pounds of Louisiana oyster meat, or 130 individual oysters, or
  • 9 pounds of Louisiana fish, or 18 8-ounce fish filets.

LDWF and the Department of Health and Hospitals have tested more than 1,000 individual seafood samples for contamination associated with the BP oil spill since May 9, 2010. Seafood samples often include more than one specimen. For example, one shrimp sample may include as many as 100 individual shrimp that are then ground into a composite paste and sampled. This composite sampling method provides a more complete picture of the health of seafood off Louisiana’s coast.

All of the seafood samples tested by Louisiana and federal officials have been safe for consumption.

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.

For more information contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov (225) 610-8860.

Environmental Education Commission Announces February Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 02/09/2011

February 11, 2011 – 1:00 p.m.
Bonaparte Room
Baton Rouge Marriott
550 Hilton Avenue

  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. Symposium Committee Reports, no more than 5 minutes each
      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. Symposium Volunteer Assignments
    3. Environmental Literacy Plan
  8. New Business
    1. Discuss date for 2012 Symposium
    2. New School Sustainability Grant, Grant reviews
    3. Art & Language Arts Contest judges
  9. Announcements      
  10. Next Meeting Dates: May 10, 2011, August 9, 2011, November 8, 2011
  11. Adjournment

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

L.D.W.F. Presents 2011-2013 Hunting Seasons, 2011-2012 W.M.A. Rules to Commission

Release Date: 02/09/2011

Feb. 9, 2011 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted notices of intent for the 2011-13 hunting seasons and the 2011-12 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) General Rules and Regulations at their Feb. 8 meeting.

The notices of intent include proposed hunting season dates and changes from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for the upcoming fall hunting season and provide for a public comment period.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Combining Deer Hunting Area 4 with Area 1 for the 2012-13 hunting season.
  • Extending the primitive firearm season in Deer Hunting Areas 1 and 6 for the 2012-13 hunting season to the end of January.
  • Removal of the requirement that deer hunters must record the validation number on their license after validating their harvested deer and extension of the amount of time required to report harvested deer from 72 hours to seven days.
  • Amending the language pertaining to the take of crows, blackbirds, cowbirds and grackles on private land and WMAs due to a change in federal regulations. Non-toxic shot and an annual report submitted to USFWS will be required.
  • Modifying firearms regulations pertaining to WMAs to be consistent with state law.
  • Eliminating the vehicle tag requirement from the self-clearing permit required to use WMAs.
  • Establishing Limited Access Areas on Joyce and Manchac WMAs.
  • Modifying the hunting season on several WMAs to provide additional opportunities. 

To view the full notice of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes for the upcoming hunting season, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Public comment will be accepted at LWFC monthly meetings from March through May and can be submitted to Randy Myers, Wildlife Division, LDWF, PO Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, until May 5.

The public meeting schedule for the proposed 2011-12 hunting season is as follows:

  • March 9 at 6 p.m., Alexandria Convention Hall located at 915 Third St.
  • March 15 at 6:30 p.m., LDWF Office in Minden located at 9961 Hwy. 80.
  • March 15 at 6:30 p.m., Yambilee Festival Bldg., 1939 W. Landry, Opelousas 
  • March 16 at 6 p.m., Ponchatoula High School Cafeteria, 19452 Hwy. 22. 
  • March 17 at 6 p.m., Bastrop Visitor Center, 124 N. Washington St.
  • March 22 at 6:30 p.m., LSU Ag Center, 7101 Gulf Hwy., Lake Charles.

For more information, contact Randy Myers at 225-765-2359 or rmyers@wlf.la.gov.

Commercial King Mackerel Season to Close Friday

Release Date: 02/09/2011

Feb. 9, 2011 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the commercial season for king mackerel will close in state water this Friday, February 11, at noon. The decision was made by LDWF Secretary Robert Barham, based on data gathered by LDWF and National Marine Fisheries Service biologists, anticipating the set quota of approximately 1 million pounds had been met.

The National Marine Fisheries Service will also close the commercial season for king mackerel in federal waters on Friday at noon.

The season is expected to resume on July 1, 2011.

On average, Louisiana lands approximately 90 percent of the quota set for king mackerel in the western Gulf of Mexico. A significant portion of the species landed in Louisiana is shipped to markets in northeast United States.

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 atwww.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363.
 

LDWF Works with Local Parish to Remove Abandoned Crab Traps

Release Date: 02/08/2011

Closure Map

Feb 8, 2011 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has authorized an emergency crab trap closure over an eight day period, from 6 a.m. February 26, 2011 through 6 a.m. March 5, 2011, in a portion of Plaquemines Parish west of the Mississippi River.

All crab traps must be removed from the designated area during the closure period. Any remaining crab traps within the closure area will be considered abandoned and subject to removal.

Removing derelict crab traps from fishing grounds reduces navigational risks and threats to public safety, while potentially increasing the number of crabs available for harvest, by preventing crab mortalities in abandoned, out-of-use traps.

Since 2004, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, together with local volunteers, has successfully removed and disposed of more than 18,000 abandoned and derelict crab traps.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, please contact Martin Bourgeois with LDWF at (225) 765-2401 or mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or visit the Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program website at www.derelictcrabtrap.net.

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.

For more information please contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or (225)610-2363. 

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