LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Teachers Can Register Now for WETSHOP 2015

Release Date: 03/18/2015

March 18, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that registration is open for WETSHOP 2015, a coastal awareness workshop for science, history and social studies teachers.  The workshop is scheduled for June 14 through 19, 2015 at LDWF’s Grand Isle Fisheries Research Lab.
 
The focus of this six-day workshop is to provide teachers with an in-depth look at issues related to wetland ecology and coastal land loss in Louisiana.  Participating teachers will accrue 55 hours of instruction covering a wide variety of topics including wetland ecology, fisheries management, and coastal restoration.  Teachers will also spend a portion of each day in the field learning about maritime forests, barrier island beach ecology, coastal restoration projects, bird life, marsh and swamp habitats and marine organisms.
 
All participating teachers will receive GLE correlated wetland lessons and many other educational resources from numerous sponsoring agencies and organizations.  Lodging and meals are provided once participants reach the workshop site.  Upon completion of the workshop, each participant will receive a $250 stipend.  An additional stipend is available during the academic year upon completion of a wetland stewardship project.
 
WETSHOP is sponsored by LDWF with grant funding provided by the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP).  In addition to this funding, WETSHOP is a collaborative effort with partners that provide experts in the field for presentations and educational materials.  These agencies/organizations include:  BTNEP, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Nature Conservancy, Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, Coastal Planning Protection and Restoration Act and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.
 
Teachers interested in WETSHOP 2015 can contact LDWF Biologist Supervisor Angela Capello at 318-623-4661 or acapello@wlf.la.gov.

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OYSTER SEASON TO CLOSE IN PORTION OF PUBLIC OYSTER GROUNDS

Release Date: 03/17/2015

March17, 2015- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that the oyster season shall close on Friday, March 20, 2015 at one-half hour after sunset in that portion of the public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). 

To view a detailed map of this area click here.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a Declaration of Emergency to open this area on March 16 and also authorized Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Secretary Robert Barham to take emergency action to close areas, on an as-needed basis, based on biological data or if enforcement problems are encountered.

Protection of the remaining oyster resource is in the long-term best interest of oyster conservation in this area. This public oyster area holds a limited oyster supply and harvest pressure since the oyster season opening on March 16 has provided the industry with much-needed oyster resources.  It is estimated that over 54,000 sacks of seed oysters (<3”) and nearly 3,000 sacks of market-size oysters (≥3”) were harvested on the first day of this abbreviated season.

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 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 Roth at 504-286-4162 or aroth@wlf.la.gov

 

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LDWF Agents Cite Eight Men for Oyster Harvesting Violations

Release Date: 03/17/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited eight people for alleged oyster harvesting violations on March 8 in two separate cases.

Agents cited Juan Martinez, 53, of Bacliff, Texas, Mariano Resendez, 39, of San Leon, Texas, and Shirley Hebert, 40, of Franklin, for oyster sanitation violations south of Marsh Island Refuge.  Hebert was also cited for oyster logbook and refrigeration violations.  Agents returned 50 sacks of oysters to the water.

Agents later cited Leonardo F. Vega, 36, Jose Cardenas-Arrendondo, 32, Antonio C. Aguado, 59, Antonio C. Aguado Jr., 32, and Ricardo C. Rodriguez, 39, all residing in Houma, for oyster refrigeration requirements.

Agents observed the five men harvesting oysters earlier in the day in Vermilion Bay north of Southwest Pass.  The five men then attempted to offload the oysters at a dock in Intracoastal City without refrigerating the oysters within the proper time frame.  Agents seized 170 sacks of oysters that were intended for raw consumption and returned them to the water.

Violating oyster refrigeration regulations carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Violating oyster sanitation regulations and failing to maintain oyster harvesting logbook each brings a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail.

Agents involved in the cases are Sgt. Justin Sonnier and Agent Nathan Vanya.

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

Louisiana sets 2015 recreational red snapper season

Release Date: 03/16/2015

Season opens March 20, with two fish possession limit in state waters
 
(March 16, 2015) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the Louisiana red snapper season in Louisiana state waters will open on Friday, March 20, at 12:01 a.m., and will remain open seven days per week until further notice.
 
The “Louisiana-only” season
 
The bag and possession limit for the state-waters season is two fish per person at a 16-inch minimum total length.
 
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission gave LDWF Secretary Robert Barham the authority to modify red snapper recreational seasons and daily harvest limits in 2013.
 
“Thanks to our anglers participating in our recreational creel survey, LA Creel, and supporting a saltwater license fee increase, we are able to provide our anglers with additional snapper fishing opportunities that NOAA has denied them in years past”, said Secretary Robert Barham.
 
On average, Louisiana anglers land 14% of the gulf wide harvest - which should have been approximately 754,000 pounds.  Within the federal 9-day season last year, Louisiana anglers only landed 22% (164,500 pounds) of their typical landing, well short of their fair share.  Thanks to the Secretary acting on behalf of Louisiana anglers under the authority of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, Louisiana anglers were able to land 82% (621,000 pounds) of our projected share with the addition of a season in state waters.
 
The Louisiana Gulfward Boundary
 
In June 2012, the Commission took action to extend Louisiana state waters from three miles offshore to three marine leagues, or approximately 9 nautical miles, offshore.
 
LDWF officials encourage fishermen to use caution and their own personal judgment when fishing beyond the three-mile boundary that is currently recognized as federal waters, as it is fully expected that federal agents will continue to enforce federal law. Until U.S. Congress confirms Louisiana’s action, the battle will continue over Louisiana’s state water boundary.
 
Recreational Offshore Landing Permit
The Department reminds anglers that a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit is required in order to possess certain species, including red snapper.  Anglers may obtain or renew the permit, free of charge at https://rolp.wlf.la.gov.  Internet Explorer 11 or above, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari browsers are supported. Anglers may renew their permits up to 30 days prior to expiration. A valid Louisiana fishing license number is required to obtain a permit.  A confirmation number is allowed for a temporary (trip) license.
The permit is required for any angler possessing tuna, billfish, swordfish, amberjack, grouper, snapper, hind, wahoo, cobia and dolphin, except for those anglers fishing on a paid-for-hire trip where the captain holds a permit. 
 
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 press inquires, contact Rene LeBreton at rlebreton@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8745.

 

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Louisiana, other Gulf states agree on state-based management framework for red snapper, ask Congress for consideration

Release Date: 03/13/2015

March 13, 2015
 
In an historic and unprecedented move, all five Gulf states have unanimously agreed on a new framework for cooperative state-based management of Gulf red snapper and have submitted it to the Gulf states’ congressional delegations for their consideration for future legislation. This alternative management strategy would remove red snapper from federal authority and place responsibility for this highly valuable species in the hands of a new, independent body called the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA), comprised of the principle marine fisheries managers from each Gulf state.
 
There has been increasing dissatisfaction among both Gulf state management authorities and their stakeholders with current management of the red snapper fishery. While the Gulf red snapper population is rebuilding, recreational red snapper fishing seasons have gotten shorter; in fact, the 2014 nine-day federal red snapper season was the shortest in history. Federal managers set fishing seasons using imprecise estimates of recreational red snapper landings from the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). Using these faulty data, they inaccurately estimate fishing quotas and are forced to set overly restrictive seasons. In addition, MRIP data are often not available to managers until after the fishing season is closed, prohibiting any kind of flexible, responsive management.
 
Along with the other Gulf states, Louisiana is confident that we can provide precise landings estimates and more frequent stock assessments—the data needed to better manage this fishery and allow our fishermen to take full advantage of the available resource. The states are also more receptive and can be more responsive to the wants and needs of constituents—we can set flexible, tailored management measures that address local needs as well as Gulf-wide conservation goals. However, we cannot do this under the current management framework, which is why we have proposed the GSRSMA framework. “A change has been a long time coming—we want to thank the state directors for pulling together to create a viable solution for fixing red snapper management, “ said Robert Barham, LDWF Secretary.
 
Under the GSRSMA framework, each state would be responsible for all management of red snapper in their respective state and adjacent federal waters. The GSRSMA would approve each state’s management plan, coordinate population assessments, provide consistent accountability measures, and distribute federal funding for research, assessment, and management. See complete details of the proposed framework here.  “If this framework comes to fruition, Louisiana is very well positioned to hit the ground running due to our anglers’ active participation in our recreational creel survey, LA Creel, and associated support for a saltwater license fee increase,” said Randy Pausina, LDWF Assistant Secretary for Fisheries.
 
The Gulf states chose to submit this proposal together to demonstrate that we place great value in working together in partnership and collaboration to ensure we have a robust, sustainable, and accessible red snapper fishery in the Gulf. The Gulf states will continue to reach out to their congressional delegations to discuss the proposal and request their support for this new management framework agreed upon by each Gulf 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.
 
For press inquiries, contact Rene LeBreton at rlebreton@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8745.

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Louisiana Oyster Task Force Research Committee to Meet March 18, 2015 in New Orleans

Release Date: 03/13/2015

The Louisiana Oyster Task Force (LOTF) Research Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 1 p.m.

UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, suite 210, New Orleans. 

Agenda:

I.  Roll call and introduction of guests

II.  Discussion Items

A.     In-shell versus meat weight conversion

   B.  Trip ticket versus severance tax update

   C.  Status update of the public oyster grounds  

III.  Public Comment

IV.  Set Next Meeting

V.  Adjourn

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend. 

 

To attend via webinar, use the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7883995715535429122

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 please contact Ashley Roth, 504-286-4162 or aroth@wlf.la.gov

To sign up for LDWF Alerts sent as text messages and emails directly to your mobile device click   here.

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Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Scheduled to Meet March 17, 2015

Release Date: 03/12/2015

The Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council will meet Tuesday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting in the Louisiana Room is as follows:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes of Oct. 21, 2014

3. Welcome and Opening Comments – Chairman

4. Enforcement Division Report

5. Office of Wildlife: Overview of WMA Master Plan

6. Office of Fisheries Report: Red Snapper Management

7. Office of Management and Finance: Annual Report

8. Pre-Session Legislative Update

9. Set Next Meeting Date

10. Receive Public Comments

11. Adjournment

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

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Thibodaux Man Sentenced as Repeat Duck Hunting Offender

Release Date: 03/11/2015

Two Louisiana Men pleaded guilty in Federal Court on March 10 in Orleans Parish for duck hunting violations that occurred in 2014.

Judge Joseph Wilkinson Jr. sentenced Lloyd Badeaux, 67, of Thibodaux, and Bobby Chauvin, 76, of Theriot, to each pay a $560 fine for violating non-toxic shot requirements while duck hunting.  Badeaux was also sentenced to serve 30 days in jail for violating his hunting ban from a previous hunting conviction.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents first cited Badeaux for taking over the limit of ducks in January of 2012 in Terrebonne Parish.  Agents found Badeaux 48 black bellied whistling ducks over his daily limit.  Badeaux pleaded guilty to the charge in April of 2013 and was fined $5,010 and placed on three years of probation with no hunting.

Prior to the opening of the 2014/15 migratory game bird season, LDWF agents with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) agents received information that Badeaux would be duck hunting on opening weekend.  On Nov. 15, 2014, LDWF and USFWS agents set up surveillance where Badeaux was thought to be hunting in Terrebonne Parish near Dularge.

The agents found Badeaux actively hunting ducks in a duck blind and made contact with him and Chauvin.  Agents found that both subjects were in possession of lead shot shotgun shells while hunting migratory game birds.

Agents cited both men for violating non-toxic shot requirements.  Badeaux was also cited for violations of his federal probation.

Agents involved in the case were LDWF Sgt. Thomas Dewitt, and Senior Agents Dean Aucoin, Stephen Rhodes and Thomas Wolf.

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

Two Men Cited for Changing Freshness Dates on Seafood Packages

Release Date: 03/10/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men for alleged commercial seafood labeling violations on March 4 in Orleans Parish.

Agents cited Sean Delaune, 26, of New Orleans, for misbranding seafood packages and Thomas Smith, 49, of Darien, Georgia, for conspiring to misbrand seafood packages.  Agents seized 14,850 pounds of mahi-mahi filets from the men.

During an inspection of the Gulf Atlantic Fisheries seafood wholesalers in New Orleans, agents observed packages of mahi-mahi filets being repacked from one bag labeled for retail sale into another bag labeled for retail sale.  Further inspection of the two bags showed the major difference between the bags was the "best by" dates.

The bags that had the mahi mahi filets had a best by date of  September of 2013 being repackaged into bags with May of 2016 best by dates.

Louisiana law prohibits acts that are falsely represented using any mark, stamp, tag, label or other authorized information.

Misbranding seafood brings up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year of imprisonment.  Conspiring to misbrand seafood brings up to a $500 fine and up to six months of imprisonment.  Further punishment is the loss of the product that totaled 14,850 pounds of mahi mahi filets.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Edward Ridgel, Sr. Agents Michael Williams and Michael Marques and Lt. Louis Burnett.  Further citations may be pending.

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

LDWF Agents Arrest Man In Connection with Cut Down Trees on Spring Bayou WMA

Release Date: 03/06/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Hessmar man this morning, March 6, for his alleged involvement in the cutting down of trees on the Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Avoyelles Parish.

After conducting their investigation and receiving an anonymous tip, agents arrested Rick K. Savoy, 48, at his residence for criminal damage to state property.  He was also arrested for operating an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) off of a WMA ATV trail, not complying with WMA self-clearing permit regulations and interference with navigation.

LDWF found up to 100 trees cut down on the WMA since early December of 2014.  Agents believe the trees were cut down to block navigation to the northern part of the WMA in order to keep other hunters out of the area.  The trees blocked all three entrances to an area known as the “Bean Field” in the northwest corner of the WMA.

The trees ranged from 10 inches to 30 inches in diameter and up to 50 foot tall including cypress, oak and willow trees.

LDWF agents booked Savoy into the Avoyelles Parish Jail in Marksville.

The penalty for cutting down trees on a WMA is criminal damage of state property and brings up to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail.  There may also be a civil restitution charge for the replacement value of the trees and cleanup required.

Operating an ATV off of a WMA ATV trail and failing to comply with self-clearing permit WMA regulations each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Interference with navigation carries a $50 fine and to 15 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Lt. John Volentine, Sgts. Gabe Guidry, Chad Watts and Bear Fletcher, and Senior Agents Doug Anderson Jr., Jay Callegari, Heath Wood, Kurt Hatten, Dale Wheat, Kenny Robertson and John Hattaway.  Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew Smith and Detective Jeremiah Honea also assisted in the case.

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

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