LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Louisiana Offers Further Clarification on 2013 Red Snapper Season

Release Date: 03/20/2013

March 20, 2013 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries takes the bold action to move forward with a Louisiana-only recreational red snapper season. 

The Louisiana-only Season

Beginning this Saturday, March 23, Louisiana will implement a weekend-only recreational red snapper season that will end on September 30, with a recreational bag limit of three fish per day at a 16-inch minimum. 

A weekend is defined as Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of Memorial Day and Labor Day, when Monday will be classified as a weekend day as well.

“One day we will look back on today’s actions and see them as a historic move for Louisiana recreational anglers and for our abundant natural resources,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “No longer will we sit idly by, as our fates are determined by someone with so little understanding of our fisheries and a refusal to negotiate. Whether their actions are ones of arrogance or fear, we join our Gulf neighbors in Texas and Florida, who implemented similar state-by-state regulations today, in standing up to NOAA and showing them that their strong-arm tactics will not work on us.”

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham was given the authority to modify the portions of this rule pertaining to red snapper recreational daily harvest limits and season if NOAA instituted sub-regional management for the species or if it is otherwise deemed necessary.

“Louisiana’s recreational fishing community has spoken and we have listened,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina, head of fisheries for Louisiana.  “In this unprecedented move, our department is challenging the recommendations set by NOAA through the National Marine Fisheries Service.   Our actions may seem rogue, but I assure you we have not entered into this lightly or without great thought.  We plan to conduct our own research, analysis and make our own decisions on what is best for Louisiana anglers and our resource.  For years the wishes of our anglers have fallen on deaf ears… that ends now.”

The Louisiana Gulfward Boundary

In June 2012 the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission took action to extend Louisiana state waters from three miles offshore to three marine leagues or approximately 10.357 miles. 

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 the time when the US Congress confirms Louisiana’s action, the battle will continue over Louisiana’s state water boundary.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant 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 Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.

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Eight Oyster Fishermen Convicted for Oyster Harvest Violations

Release Date: 03/19/2013

March 19, 2013 -- Today, March 19, eight oyster fishermen entered a no contest plea for several health and oyster violations in the 15th Judicial District Court of Louisiana in Vermilion Parish.

The Honorable Judge Durwood Conque accepted the pleas from Antonio G. Ayala, 34, Jose L. Ayala, 41, Jose M. Ayala, 21, all of Dickinson, Texas, Jose F. Rodriguez, 31, Jose G. Arredondo, 45, Octavio R. Vega, 38, all of Houston, Texas, Jose M. Bocanegra, 23, of Bacliff, Texas, and Heliodoro Gonzalez-Bocanegra, 43, of Chalmette.  Judge Conque ordered the men to each pay a fine of $1,922.50.

On July 25, 2012, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents in Vermilion Parish conducted surveillance on a group of oyster fisherman that were harvesting oysters in Southwest Pass.

Agents observed several boats coming into the dock in Intracoastal City with sacks of oysters that were labeled to be shucked and processed.  However, agents later observed these fishermen change the tags on the sacks of oysters to indicate that the oysters could be consumed raw when offloading the sacks from their boats.  These mislabeled sacks of oysters were then loaded onto a truck and were destined for Florida, before LDWF agents intercepted the shipment.
Oysters that are intended for raw consumption have strict harvest and refrigeration requirements that were not met by these fishermen.  Agents seized a total of 495 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water in an area closed to oyster harvesting.

Each man pleaded no contest for violating the sanitation code for logbook and refrigeration requirements, adulterating or misbranding seafood, violating interstate commerce regulations and failing to fill out oyster tags correctly.

Since April of 2012, LDWF agents have seized over 1,000 sacks of oysters in Vermilion Parish alone and returned these oysters to closed areas.  These seizures were mainly pertaining to the enforcement of refrigeration requirements for oysters intended for raw consumption.

Sgt. Justin Sonnier was the lead investigator on this case, which was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Aimee Hebert.

Major Jubal Marceaux, Capt. Robert Buatt, Sgt. Brian Theriot and Senior Agents Jason Stagg, Myron Verret, Derek Logan, Carl Pickett, Donnie Bozeman and Jason Marks also assisted with this case.

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

Five New Orleans Men Cited for Fishing Violations in Gulf

Release Date: 03/19/2013

March 19, 2013 -- After a joint investigation between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), LDWF Enforcement Division agents cited five New Orleans men for alleged fishing violations today, March 19.

LDWF agents cited Nam Nguyen, 52, Nam Truong, 82, Hung Tran, 55, Son Pham, 41, and Hang Nguyen, 51, for violating highly migratory species regulations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Agents received a complaint from NOAA Fisheries that the USCG discovered the vessel fishing in federal waters with live bait on March 18.  LDWF agents boarded the vessel, The Blue Fin, when it returned to Dulac this morning and found J-hooks, hand lines and three places to hold live bait.

It is illegal to fish for highly migratory species in the Gulf of Mexico with live bait and J-hooks.  Circle hooks and either artificial lures or dead bait can be used with a highly migratory species permit.

Violating highly migratory species regulations brings up to $50,000 in fines, loss of any highly migratory species permits for up to one year and loss of catch.  Agents seized 2,861 pounds of yellowfin tuna and a total of 623 pounds of swordfish, wahoo and escolar, hand lines and two buoys.

LDWF Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Louis Burnett, Senior Agents Dean Aucoin and Norman Deroche and Sgt. Ted Dewitt.  NOAA Fisheries Special Agent Steve Campbell and USCG Ensign Zack Bowman also assisted in the case.

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

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting

Release Date: 03/15/2013

The following is the agenda for the Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting. The public is invited to attend.

Tuesday, March 19 1:00 PM

UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210, New Orleans

AGENDA

I.  Roll Call

II.  Approval of  February 28, 2013  MINUTES

III.  Treasury Report

   A. Oyster Tag Sales

   B. LOTF Financial Report

IV.  Committee Reports

  A.  Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee

  B.  Enforcement 

  C.  Legislative

  D.  Research

  E.  Coastal Restoration

  F.  Marketing

  G.  Health

  H. Sustainability

V.     Old Business

  1.   BP Oil Spill Remediation
    1. Claims Process
    2. Public Reef Remediation
    3. Oyster Lease Remediation
  2. Out Da Bayou      

VI.  New Business

  A.  VMS Update - Nick Salvi with Polestar   

  B.  Proposed Cypremort Point Artificial Reef-Patrick Banks, LDWF             

  C.  Status of Public Grounds- Patrick Banks, LDWF

  D.  Tier 2.1 Financial Disclosure Forms

VII.  Set Next meeting

VIII.  Adjourn

 

 

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Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board to Meet

Release Date: 03/15/2013

 

The Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board will meet on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. The meeting will convene at 9:30 a.m. in Suite 200 of the University of New Orleans’ Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans.

Agenda items for the meeting of the Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board are as follows:

  1. Approval of Minutes from December 4, 2012 Meeting
  2. Hearing of Deferred Appeals
    1. Mark Tayamen
  3. Hearing of New Permit Appeals
    1. Brett Johnson
    2. Marty Melerine
    3. Vlaho Mjehovich
    4. Raymond Nehlig
  4. Set next meeting date
  5. Receive Public Comments
  6. Adjournment

This Board was established by Act 922 of the 2008 Regular Legislative Session for the purpose of hearing appeals of vessel permit denials by LDWF. Act 922 requires that anyone commercially harvesting oysters on the public oyster seed grounds and reservations, except those in Calcasieu Lake and Sabine Lake, must do so from a vessel holding a public oyster seed ground vessel permit issued by LDWF.

For more information, please contact Ty Lindsey at 225-765-2387 or tlindsey@wlf.la.gov

 

 

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LDWF and New Orleans City Park Present 66th Annual Big Bass Rodeo on April 6

Release Date: 03/14/2013

(March 14, 2013) -    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is once again teaming with New Orleans City Park for their 66th annual Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival. 

Spring is just around the corner, which means water temperatures are rising and largemouth bass activity is picking up.  In addition, the Department will be stocking the lagoon today with 50 adult Florida largemouth bass, averaging over two pounds each.

The purpose of the stocking is two-fold: adding Florida largemouth bass will enhance future urban fishing opportunities by increasing the potential for catching larger fish and may also help to control invasive cichlid populations. 

The upcoming Big Bass Rodeo is deemed the oldest freshwater rodeo in the country, providing opportunities for anglers of all ages and backgrounds to catch those elusive lunkers for bragging rights and trophies.   The Department is committed to protecting and managing the state’s natural resources and will be present to assist anglers with the weighing, holding and safe release of all fish.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 6 at the Casino Building (currently Morning Call Café) in New Orleans City Park.  Registration begins at 6 a.m. and fishing at 6:30 a.m. and weigh-in closes at 11 a.m. near the bandstand.  Entry fees are only $10 for adults (13 and older) and $5 for kids (12 and younger).  All anglers are asked to bring their own rod and reel, as well as bait.

In addition to the rodeo, the free Fishtival begins at 9 a.m. near the Casino and Bandstand area.  Numerous demonstrations, exhibits, and outdoor activities will be available for youth and adults including a youth casting contest, free casting lessons, and a 1,000 gallon freshwater aquarium provided by LDWF.

Visit www.neworleanscitypark.com/bigbass for details, online registration, registration forms, rules, regulations and a fishing map.

If your rods and reels are gathering dust and you can’t remember the last time you took your child fishing, what in the world are you waiting for?  Fishing is a sport best passed from generation to generation.  It instills patience, respect for the environment, and offers countless teaching opportunities about ecosystems, habitats, and how man fits into the great scheme of things.  Fishing is also a sport that requires little money to get started.  Most kids are happy with a cane pole, bobber, and worms for bait.

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 Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 765-2396.

 

 

 

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L.W.F.C. Adopts Amendment to Hunting Seasons NOIs, Public Meeting Schedule Announced Again

Release Date: 03/14/2013

March 14, 2013 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted an amendment to the notice of intent for the 2013-14 WMA Hunting Seasons Rules and Regulations and the 2013 WMA Hunting Schedule at their March 7 meeting.

The amendment would provide for an experimental nighttime frogging season on Salvador-Timken Wildlife Management Area from June 1 to Aug. 15. If finally approved, after the public comment period, the experimental season would begin June 1, 2014. The daily limit would be 50 frogs per vessel and participants would be required to carry a valid Louisiana fishing license. For additional details on frogging, consult the 2013 Louisiana Fishing Regulations booklet, page 28.

To view the original notices of intent and amendments for upcoming hunting seasons, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Public comment can be submitted to Steve Smith, Wildlife Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email to ssmith@wlf.la.gov until May 2, 2013.

Proposed hunting season dates, general hunting regulations and WMA regulations will additionally be presented in nine public meetings as follows:

  • March 19 at 6 p.m., LDWF Minden Office, 9961 Hwy. 80, Minden
  • March 19 at 6 p.m., St. Tammany Parish Council Chambers, 21490 Koop Drive, Mandeville
  • March 20 at 6 p.m., LDWF Monroe Office, 368 CenturyLink Drive, Monroe
  • March 20 at 6 p.m., Chalmette Elem. School Resource Center, 75 East Chalmette Circle, Chalmette
  • March 21 at 6 p.m., USGS National Wetlands Research Center Conference Room, 646 Cajundome Blvd., Lafayette
  • March 26 at 6:30 p.m., LSU Ag Center, 7101 Gulf Highway, Lake Charles
  • March 27 at 6 p.m., Alexandria Convention Hall, 915 Third St., Alexandria
  • March 27 at 6 p.m., Houma Municipal Auditorium, 880 Verret St., Houma
  • March 28 at 6 p.m., Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 N. Flannery Road, Baton Rouge

For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359.

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.

 

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Consumers to be Aware of Unapproved USCG PFDs in Marketplace

Release Date: 03/13/2013

Consumers to be Aware of Unapproved USCG PFDs in Marketplace
Consumers to be Aware of Unapproved USCG PFDs in Marketplace

As Louisiana’s busy boating season approaches, many boaters are getting their boats in working order including purchasing the required equipment to keep on board.  Part of the required equipment includes choosing the correct personal flotation device (PFD).

Choosing the correct PFD can be the difference between life and death when on the water.  There are many different PFD types and styles to choose from and each must be properly fitted to the person wearing the PFD.

Another factor that must be considered is to ensure that the PFD to be used is U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved.  A USCG approved PFD will have an approval number on the label usually on the inside part of the PFD.  Any other PFD that is not U.S. Coast Guard approved is considered illegal and unsafe.

“Recently there have been more and more non-approved personal flotation devices showing up in the marketplace and now they are being sold at larger retailers where most customers just assume it is an approved version,” said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state’s Boating Law Administrator.  “We want people to be aware during the purchase to look for the U.S. Coast Guard approval number on the label.”

According to the USCG, all approved PFDs are tested by a sanctioned USCG recognized laboratory.  These PFD tests validate a PFD’s performance and also make them legal for use.

As one of its many duties, the LDWF Enforcement Division is charged with making the state’s waterways safer for the public to enjoy and use.  The LDWF Enforcement Division strictly enforces PFD requirements on the water since it has been determined to be one of the largest factors in preventing boating incident fatalities.

In 2012, there were 23 boating incident fatalities in Louisiana of which 15 officially listed drowning as the cause of death.

In Louisiana, a vessel must have a USCG approved PFD for each occupant.  Also, anybody 16 years of age and under must wear a USCG approved PFD if on board a vessel less than 26 feet in length and while underway.

“The unapproved personal flotation devices for sale are attractive purchases because they usually cost less than the USCG approved ones,” said Lt. Col. Mayne.  “However, those unapproved personal flotation devices would not be considered legal and could potentially put somebody’s life at risk.”

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

 

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Louisiana Oyster Task Force Legislative Committee Meeting

Release Date: 03/11/2013

 

 

The following is the agenda for the Louisiana Oyster Task Force Legislative Committee. The public is invited to attend. 

 

Thursday, March 14, 2013 1 p.m.

UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210, New Orleans

 

AGENDA

I.  Call to Order

II. Consideration of Oyster Task Force bills for the 2013 legislative session. 

A.  Increase penalties for theft and polluted oysters

B.  Sunset of Seed Ground Vessel Permit 

     C.   Appeals for exclusion zones in current Aquaculture Bill (HB1190)

D.  Drum Fish Predation

 

III. Adjourn

 

 

 

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LDWF Advisory on Black Bears in St. Mary Parish

Release Date: 03/11/2013

March 11, 2013 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is again advising St. Mary Parish residents to take precautions to minimize encounters with black bears. Today’s advisory follows the recent injury of a dog that chased a bear in a Patterson neighborhood.

Bears are seeking food sources in and around neighborhoods throughout the parish. This can include plentiful live oak acorns in people’s yards and unsecured garbage containers. Pet food containers left outdoors will also attract black bears.

LDWF has partnered with St. Mary Parish to provide homeowners bear-proof garbage containers to control this easy-access food source problem. Homeowners who already have bear-proof garbage containers are advised to make sure the cans are locked and not overfilled.

During this peak time of higher than normal bear activity, residents are advised to secure their dogs.  Bears are normally shy and non-confrontational, but will protect themselves and their cubs when chased by dogs.

LDWF will continue to set traps in neighborhoods where nuisance bears re-appear and work with the parish to ensure compliance with bear-proof garbage container instructions.  Intentional feeding of bears is against state law and violators are subject to citations.  Patrols in this area will increase during this time to help minimize problems.  Residents should report broken garbage containers to the St. Mary Parish bear conflict officer at 337-828-4100.  To report problems with bears call 1-800-442-2511.  

For more information, contact Maria Davidson, LDWF Wildlife Division, ph. 225-931-3061.

 

 

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