LDWF News

LDWF News Release

LDWF Begins Replacement of Big Roaring Bayou Bridge at Big Lake WMA

Release Date: 01/30/2017

Jan. 30, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has begun replacing Big Roaring Bayou Bridge at Big Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Fina Road from Louisiana Hwy. 4 to Trusler Lake Road will be closed during the duration of the bridge replacement work.
 
The project is scheduled to be completed by May 2017.
 
Big Lake WMA, which consists of 19,231 acres, is located in Franklin, Madison and Tensas parishes approximately 12 miles east of Gilbert. The eastern boundary of Big Lake WMA is contiguous with a portion of the western boundary of Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. Together, these areas form one of the largest remaining tracts of bottomland hardwood forests that historically composed the lower Mississippi River floodplain from lower Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. For more information on Big Lake WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/32646 .
 
For more information, contact Lowrey Moak at lmoak@wlf.la.gov or 318-343-4044.
 

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Oyster Season to Re-open in Portion of the Public Oyster Seed Grounds East of the Mississippi River and North of the MRGO

Release Date: 01/27/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will re-open a portion of the public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) within Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) Harvest Areas 3 and 4 at one-half hour before sunrise on January 31, 2017.  Daily take and possession limit has been reduced from 50 sacks to 20 sacks of oysters per vessel.  It is expected that this reduced sack limit will reduce the threat to the oyster resources in this area compared to previous harvest levels and these areas can withstand continued, limited harvest.

LDWF reminds oyster harvesters that the Lake Borgne/Mississippi Sound area, which is generally the area of LDHH Harvest Areas 1 and 2, will remain closed until further notice due to extensive oyster mortality observed throughout the area and to protect a recent spat set.  Closure of this area is expected to increase the likelihood of spat survival and facilitate resource recovery.  The protection of remaining oyster resource is in the long-term best interest of the public oyster seed grounds in this area.

Closure dates are determined by the LDWF Secretary Montoucet on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered.  The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended, and to open public 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 in advance, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

 

To view maps related to this action visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/commerical-oyster-seasons

Portion of Oil Well Road at Pearl River WMA Closed Due to Flooding

Release Date: 01/26/2017

Jan. 26, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has closed the southern end of Oil Well Road at the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area due to flooding on the Pearl River.
 
Once the flooding recedes, LDWF will inspect and repair any damage and reopen the road.
 
Pearl River WMA, which consists of 35,618 acres, is located approximately six miles east of Slidell and one mile east of Pearl River in St. Tammany Parish. It includes bottomland hardwood, cypress Tupelo and intermediate marsh habitats.  For more information on the WMA, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2789.
 
For more information, contact Forest Burks at fburks@wlf.la.gov or 985-543-4781.

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LDWF Reminds Commercial Shark Anglers of Federal and State Shark Permit Requirements

Release Date: 01/26/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to remind commercial shark anglers who fish on a vessel holding a federal permit to harvest Large Coastal Sharks   that only one commercial limit (45 sharks) is allowed per vessel, per trip, regardless of the number of permitted or licensed anglers on that vessel. 
 
Federal shark permit regulations specify that a vessel with a federal shark permit must abide by the federal regulations associated with a federal shark permit at all times. Federal regulations for the LCS fishery allow only one trip limit (45 per vessel) for any one trip, but multiple trips may be taken in one day.
 
State harvest regulations allow commercial shark fishermen, in state waters only, to harvest one daily limit (45 sharks) for each commercially licensed state shark permit holder on a vessel as long as that vessel does not have a federal shark permit associated with it. Only one trip per vessel per day is allowed. State permit holders may only sell their own catch and are reminded of the restriction that prohibits long line gear in state waters.
 
For more information, contact Jason Adriance at (504) 284-2032 or jadriance@wlf.louisiana.gov

Wildlife agent shot 5 times scheduled to be released from hospital

Release Date: 01/25/2017

Senior Enforcement Agent Tyler Wheeler is visited by Col. Joey Broussard, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  Wheeler is recovering after being shot 5 times earlier this month while on patrol. Two people have been arrested in the shooting.

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agent, who was shot five times while questioning a motorist, is talking and walking with assistance and may be out of the hospital this week.

Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, 25, of Monroe, is scheduled to be discharged from the LSU Health Shreveport Trauma Center Jan. 26, and will be transported to a rehab facility in Mississippi, according to his father Darren Wheeler.

“His spirits are high,” Wheeler said. “This is amazing.”

The elder Wheeler said his son has been able to walk with the help of a walker and sometimes with the aid of a medical assistant “to keep him steady.” He is talking and “fussing about staying in here (at the hospital).”

Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, said he and his department are elated by Wheeler’s improvement.

“His Wildlife and Fisheries family is very encouraged by Tyler’s progress to date,” Broussard said. “Everything we’ve been told is that it is a miracle that he survived this cowardly attack and that the doctors are very hopeful he can make a full recovery.”

Broussard, who visited Wheeler on Tuesday, said “it is inspiring to see his great attitude and resolve during his recovery.”

Wheeler’s rehab will focus on strength recovery and regaining the ability to eat a normal diet.  The doctors have been pleased with his motor skills, memory and overall condition, Darren Wheeler said.

LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said Wheeler’s progress “is a true testament to this young man’s amazing will to live. And, it also shows the courage of our law enforcement officers who bravely face dangerous situations every day.”

Wheeler was shot five times, including once in the temple, jaw, shoulder, arm and back on Jan. 7 on Hwy. 165 between Sterlington and Bastrop in the Perryville area.  Wheeler was wearing his department issued body armor vest at the time of the shooting.

Louisiana State Police Detectives arrested 31-year-old Amethyst Baird of Monroe on one count of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.  They also arrested 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette, of Monroe, on one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder.  Both arrests occurred on Jan. 8.

 

 

 

LDWF Public Meetings Set for February on Proposed Hunting Seasons and WMA Rules and Regulation Changes

Release Date: 01/24/2017

Jan. 24, 2017 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold six public meetings around the state to present and gather comments on the proposed 2017-19 resident game hunting season dates, 2017-18 waterfowl and migratory bird hunting season dates, 2017-18 wildlife management areas (WMA) general rules and regulation changes, 2018 wild turkey seasons and hunting areas and experimental dove field leasing program.
 
Public comment will be taken on all items currently under consideration as notices of intent by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. The meeting dates and locations include:
 
Feb. 20 (Monday) at 6 p.m. at the Ponchatoula High School library, 19452 Louisiana Hwy. 22, Ponchatoula;
 
Feb. 21 (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. at the New Orleans LDWF Field Office, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, second floor conference room, Suite 210, New Orleans;
 
Feb. 22 (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. at the New Iberia VFW Hall-Post 1982, 1907 Jefferson Terrace Blvd., New Iberia;
 
Feb. 23 (Thursday) at 6 p.m. at the Ruston Historic Fire Station Building, 200 East Mississippi Street, Ruston;
 
Feb. 24 (Friday) at 6 p.m. at the LSU Ag Center Building, 7101 Gulf Highway, Lake Charles;
 
Feb. 25 (Saturday) at 2 p.m. at the Louisiana State Evacuation Shelter at LSU-Alexandria, 8125 Hwy. 71, Lecompte.
 
To view the full notices of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulation changes, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.
 
Public comment will be accepted at LWFC monthly meetings from now through March 5 or may be submitted directly to Steve Smith, LDWF Wildlife Division, PO Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email to ssmith@wlf.la.gov .
 
For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359, 318-487-5885 or ssmith@wlf.la.gov .

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LDWF to Close Oyster Harvest in the West Cove Portion of Calcasieu Lake

Release Date: 01/20/2017

1-20-17 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close all oyster harvest in the West Cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area in Cameron Parish at one half-hour after sunset on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

The oyster population in Calcasieu Lake has been in decline for several years and continued commercial harvest may threaten the long-term sustainability of remaining oyster resources in this public oyster area. Protection of the remaining oyster resources is in the long-term best interest of the oyster populations in this area.

The Commission authorized the Secretary of LDWF to take emergency action to close areas on an as-needed basis, based on biological data or if enforcement problems are encountered. The Secretary was 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.

To view maps detailing today's actions, visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/commerical-oyster-seasons

COMMERCIAL KING MACKEREL SEASON TO CLOSE JANUARY 21, 2017

Release Date: 01/19/2017

January 19, 2017 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced the commercial season for king mackerel in Louisiana waters will close at 12 p.m. (noon) on Saturday, January 21, 2017. 

The closure was made based on data gathered by LDWF biologists and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that the annual quota for the commercial harvest of king mackerel of 1.07 million pounds for the western zone of the Gulf of Mexico has been met.  The commercial fishing season for king mackerel was previously closed in federal waters at noon on Tuesday, October 14, 2016. 

Each year, a commercial quota is established for Gulf of Mexico group king mackerel by NMFS based on recommendations by the Gulf and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils. That figure is then allocated towards various zones and fisheries.  According to the best information available, the 1.07 million pound commercial quota of king mackerel for the western zone of the Gulf of Mexico has been harvested.

The commercial king mackerel season in Louisiana waters has previously been closed on March 27, 2009 (08-09 season), September 12, 2009 (09-10 season), February 11, 2011 (10-11 season), September 16, 2011 (11-12 season), August 22, 2012 (12-13 season), September 20, 2013 (13-14 season), October 31, 2014 (14-15 season), and January 7, 2016 (15-16 season).

While there are relatively few king mackerel harvested or targeted by Louisiana recreational anglers, a substantial commercial fishery exists, which typically lands 800 to 900 thousand pounds annually at Louisiana ports.  A significant portion of the king mackerel landed in Louisiana ports is shipped to markets in the northeast United States.

 

For more information, contact Jason Adriance at 504.284.2032 or jadriance@wlf.la.gov.  

Commercial Netting Season on Poverty Point Reservoir to Begin Friday

Release Date: 01/19/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will allow licensed commercial fishermen to fish gill or trammel nets on Poverty Point Reservoir in Richland Parish for the first time, beginning Friday, January 20, 2017. The season will close on February 28, 2017. 
 
A recurring season has been established and will run from October 1 through the last day of February each year. Only nets with a minimum bar mesh size of 3.5 inches are allowed. The use of hoop nets, wire nets and fish seines will remain prohibited.
 
Department biologists recommended the creation of a netting season on Poverty Point Reservoir in an effort to reduce the abundance of commercial fish species while providing commercial anglers the opportunity to take advantage of an under-utilized natural resource. Abundant populations of catfish, buffalo, carp and freshwater drum have been identified in the 2,700-acre lake. Removing a portion of these fish will benefit the overall fishery and promote growth of sport fish species including largemouth bass and crappie.
 
Licensed commercial fishermen are required to possess either a fresh products or a wholesale/retail license and participate in the LDWF Trip Ticket Program.  A trip ticket must be filled out when the commercial fisherman transfers his catch to a wholesale/retail dealer or fresh products licensee. Interested fishermen should first call the trip ticket office at (225) 765-2449 for program instructions and a special area code for fishing the reservoir. Anglers should then contact either Poverty Point Reservoir State Park at (318) 878-7536 or the LDWF District 2 office in Monroe at (318) 343-4044 for further instructions including fishing boundaries, state park regulations and other requirements. 
 
For more information, contact Ryan Daniel, District 2 Fisheries Biologist Manager, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at (318) 343-4044 or rdaniel@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF to Open the Cheniere Reef Area in Calcasieu Lake

Release Date: 01/19/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will open the Cheniere Artificial Reef Planning Area of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area in Cameron Parish at one half-hour before sunrise on Monday, January 23, 2017. However, this action does not supersede public health closures. 

The Cheniere Artificial Reef Planning Area has been re-designated and will be incorporated into the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area.  Oyster resources located in this 87-acre area will be made available for harvest. 

The isolated nature of Calcasieu Lake and recent decline of the oyster stock in this area requires conservative management practices to ensure future oyster production.  LDWF biologists will continue to monitor oyster harvest in Calcasieu Lake and will recommend closure when harvest thresholds are reached. 

The Cheniere Artificial Reef Planning Area is defined by the following coordinates:

 

A.        29 degrees 51 minutes 09.10 seconds

            93 degrees 17 minutes 06.96 seconds

B.        29 degrees 51 minutes 09.35 seconds

            93 degrees 16 minutes 50.20 seconds

C.        29 degrees 51 minutes 05.33 seconds

            93 degrees 16 minutes 46.06 seconds

D.        29 degrees 50 minutes 50.72 seconds

            93 degrees 16 minutes 45.78 seconds

E.         29 degrees 50 minutes 50.96 seconds

            93 degrees 17 minutes 09.62 seconds

F.         29 degrees 51 minutes 05.56 seconds

           93 degrees 17 minutes 09.90 seconds

For maps of this area visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/commerical-oyster-seasons

The provisions for the Cheniere Artificial Reef Planning Area season will follow those already in place for the 2016/2017 Calcasieu Lake oyster season.  Those provisions are as follows:

1.    Any vessel from which any person(s) takes or attempts to take oysters from the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area described above shall be limited to a daily take and possession limit not to exceed 7 sacks of oysters per vessel as provided for in R.S. 56:435.1.1.  A sack of oysters for the purposes of this declaration of emergency shall be defined as the size described in R.S. 56:440.

2.   If any person on a vessel takes or attempts to take oysters from the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area described above, all oysters contained on that vessel shall be deemed to have been taken from said public oyster area from the time harvest begins until all oysters are offloaded dockside.

3.   Prior to leaving the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area with oysters harvested from said oyster area: all oysters must be sacked, the number of sacks shall be recorded in a logbook, and each sack shall be properly tagged.

4.   All vessels located in the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area during those times between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise shall have all oyster dredges unshackled.

The Commission authorized the Secretary of LDWF to take emergency action to close areas on an as-needed basis based on biological data or if enforcement problems are encountered. The Secretary was 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.

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