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LDWF News Release

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Announces Public Hearings Affecting Proposed Actions for Gray Triggerfish and Gag

Release Date: 10/16/2012

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene Public Hearings on two proposed actions to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan.  Reef Fish Amendment 37 proposes modifications to the gray triggerfish rebuilding plan including modifications to the annual catch limits and annual catch targets for the commercial and recreational sectors.  Proposed commercial management measures needed to meet the reduction in the annual catch limit and annual catch target for gray triggerfish include establishing a fixed closed season and a trip limit.  Proposed recreational management measures include establishing a fixed closed season and modifying the recreational bag limit for gray triggerfish within the 20-reef fish aggregate bag limit.  This amendment also includes proposed modifications to the recreational accountability measures to allow NOAA Fisheries Service to close the recreational sector once the annual catch target is reached or projected to be reached, and if the annual catch limit is exceeded, to apply an overage adjustment by reducing the annual catch limit and optional annual catch target the following fishing season.

The Framework Action to set the 2013 gag recreational fishing season, bag limit, and to modify the February through March shallow-water grouper closed season contains alternatives for modifications to regulations addressing recreational fishing for gag and shallow-water grouper. Alternatives being considered to modify the recreational gag fishing season would change the starting date for the recreational gag season from July 1 to an earlier time when there is greater demand to fish for gag, or would split the season into two or three sub-seasons.  Changing the season to times when there is greater demand may reduce the number of fishing days relative to the status quo, so suboptions within the alternatives consider either retaining the current gag bag limit of 2 fish per person within the 4-fish aggregate shallow-water grouper bag limit, or reducing the bag limit for gag to 1 fish in order to extend the season.  The Framework Action will also consider revising the current closed season on recreational harvest of shallow-water grouper by either shortening or eliminating the closed season, moving it to a different date, or having the closed season apply only seaward of the 20 fathom depth contour while eliminating it shoreward of 20 fathoms.

The meetings schedule is as follows:  

October PH Schedule

All meetings will begin at 6pm and conclude at the end of public testimony, but no later than 9pm. 

A virtual public hearing will be available for viewing by visiting http://www.youtube.com/user/gulfcouncil. Comments can be submitted online by visiting the Council web site at  http://gulfcouncil.org/fishery_management_plans/scoping-thru-implementation.php.

Copies of the public hearing materials can be obtained by calling 813-348-1630. Materials will also be posted on the Council website at www.gulfcouncil.org.

These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Kathy Pereira at the Council office at least five working days prior to the meeting.

About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.

 

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Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to Meet in Gulfport, Mississippi

Release Date: 10/16/2012

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet October 29 through November 1, 2012, at the Courtyard Marriott, 1600 East Beach Boulevard, Gulfport, Mississippi. The Council Committees will begin meeting Monday at 10:00 am and will meet through 11:30 am Wednesday. The full Council will convene at 1:00 pm Wednesday and is expected to adjourn by 4:00 pm Thursday. Agenda highlights are summarized below.  For a copy of the detailed agenda or to review briefing book materials, please visit the Council web site at www.gulfcouncil.org or call 888-833-1844.

The meeting will open Monday with the Ad Hoc Restoration Committee, which will discuss options for potential restoration projects under both the National Resource Damage Assessment process and the RESTORE Act. The Data Collection Committee will then meet to review a scoping document for electronic reporting requirements by for-hire vessels.

The Shrimp Management Committee will discuss the status of the Electronic Logbook reporting program. The Committee will also review a new shrimp Stock Assessment for penaeid shrimp; SSC recommendations; and the status and health of gulf shrimp stocks. Finally, the Committee will discuss exempted fishing permits related to shrimp (if any).

Later in the afternoon, the SSC Selection Committee will discuss the duties and responsibilities of the SSC, and the Advisory Panel Selection Committee will meet in a closed session with the full Council to review and appoint members to the new Ad Hoc Artificial Substrate Advisory Panel and to discuss appointments of former Council members to advisory panels.

On Tuesday, the Reef Fish Management Committee will meet to to discuss the Red Snapper Individual Fishing Quota 5-Year Review, including recommendations from the Socioeconomic SSC. The Committee will also review:

  • Economic Evaluation of Red Snapper Allocation
  • Final action on Amendment 37 - Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding Plan
  • Scoping document for Amendment 39 - Regional Management of Red Snapper
  • The 2013 red snapper season and non-compliance by states
  • Draft Regulatory Amendment for Vermilion Snapper Annual Catch Limits and Bag Limits
  • Final action on a Regulatory Amendment to set the 2013 Gag Recreational Season and Bag Limits
  • SEDAR 27 - Yellowtail Snapper Benchmark Assessment
  • Additional comments from the SSC and Socioeconomic SSC
  • Exempted Fishing Permits related to reef fish (if any)

Immediately following the Committee recess Tuesday, the Council and NOAA Fisheries will hold an informal Question and Answer session on general fishery management issues.

Beginning at 8:30 am Wednesday, the Council will continue with remaining agenda items from the Reef Fish Management Committee. The Joint Reef Fish/Mackerel/Red Drum Committees will convene at 9:30 am, to consider modifications to the Coastal Migratory Pelagics reporting requirements suggested by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council under its Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3. Committee meetings will close with a meeting of the Law Enforcement Committee to review and approve a new Gulf of Mexico Cooperative Law Enforcement Strategic Plan 2013 through 2016, and a new Gulf of Mexico Cooperative Law Enforcement Operations Plan 2013 through 2014. 

The full Council will convene Wednesday at 1:00 pm beginning with the approval of the 2013 Committee appointments. 

Beginning at 1:45 pm, the Council will take public comment on the following:

  • Final Reef Fish Amendment 37 - Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding Plan
  • Regulatory Amendment to set the 2013 Gag Recreational Season and Bag Limits
  • Exempted fishing permits (if any)

The Council will also hold an open public comment session to give members of the public an opportunity to address the Council on fishery issues that may not be on the agenda. Open public comment will be taken immediately following public testimony until 5:30 pm. Comment cards must be completed before the start of public testimony.

Beginning Thursday at 8:30 am, the Council will deliberate and take action on committee recommendations made earlier in the week. 

Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda may come before the Council and Committees for discussion, in accordance with the M-SFCMA, those issues may not be the subjects of formal action. Actions of the Council and Committees will be restricted to issues specifically identified in the agendas and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the M-SFCMA, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take action to address the emergency.

The established times for addressing items on the agenda may be adjusted as necessary to accommodate the timely completion of discussion relevant to the agenda items. In order to allow for such adjustments and completion of all items on the agenda, the meeting may be extended from, or completed prior to, the date established in this notice. Meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Kathy Pereira at the Council office at least five days prior to the meeting.

About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.

 

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Commercial Net Season to Begin on False River on November 1

Release Date: 10/16/2012

(Oct. 16, 2012) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will implement a recurring commercial netting season on False River in Pointe Coupee Parish beginning November 1.  This action removes the current net ban and allows the use of specified nets to provide commercial fishermen the opportunity to utilize the resource. 

The commercial season will allow for harvest of fish species including buffalo, catfish and carp.  The season will run from November 1 through the last day of February and is structured in a way to minimize conflict with boaters and recreational anglers.

In 1991, False River gained trophy status and initiated a largemouth bass management plan.  This plan included a slot limit and banned the use of gill nets, trammel nets and seines.  The trophy status was rescinded in 1998 and largemouth bass regulations were altered to manage for a lake of special concern.  Since the lake is no longer managed under trophy status, the need for a net ban no longer exists. 

LDWF is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.govor (225) 765-2396.

 

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Joseph Harbor Boat Launch and East End Locks Road to Reopen Oct. 16 at Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge

Release Date: 10/15/2012

Rockefeller SWR - Joseph Harbor Boat Launch Oct 2012
Rockefeller East End Locks Road - Oct 2012

Oct. 15, 2012– The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) today announced completion of a $2.6 million project at Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge (SWR) that replaced the boat launch and bulkheads at Joseph Harbor and upgraded the East End Locks Road. Both access points will open again Oct. 16for daily public use from sunrise to sunset.

“Rockefeller is a popular site for recreational fishermen and the improved access will benefit that user group plus boaters and nature watchers wishing to utilize the refuge’s abundant natural resources,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.

The site improvements, three miles east of the refuge headquarters along Hwy. 82, were completed with Rockefeller Trust funds available for maintenance on the refuge.

The improved facilities provide for safer vehicle access to the refuge and boat launching into coastal marshes.

Rockefeller SWR is one of the most biologically diverse wildlife areas in the nation and and attracts over 100,000 visitors annually. Located at the terminus of the vast Mississippi Flyway, south Louisiana winters about four million waterfowl annually. The refuge provides high quality wetlands habitat for ducks, geese, shorebirds and wading birds, spanning 26 miles of coastal Louisiana in Cameron and Vermilion parishes.  

An abundant fisheries population provides recreational opportunities to fishermen seeking shrimp, redfish, speckled trout, black drum, and largemouth bass, among others. No hunting is allowed on the refuge, but some regulated trapping is allowed for furbearers that could potentially damage the marsh if their populations are not controlled.

For more information on Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge, visit the LDWF website at www.wlf.la.gov or call 337-491-2593.

 

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Dove Hunting Opportunities Available at Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA for South Zone, Second and Third Splits

Release Date: 10/11/2012

 

Oct. 11, 2012  – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is allowing vehicle access to the dove field parking area on Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area, just north of the dove field gate, on the mornings of Oct. 20 and  27, weather permitting.

The WMA’s dove field acreage in Terrebonne Parish, within the site’s Point Farm Unit, is accessible from Dolphin Street, off LA 55 in Montegut.

Except for the weekend of Oct. 13-14, when the Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA youth lottery deer hunt is scheduled, dove hunters will also have to access the dove field on foot or by boat from Oct. 15 to Nov. 25 for the second split, and from Dec. 22 to Jan. 7 for the third split.

The public is reminded that vehicles must travel on the limestone access road only and non-toxic shot is required south of the dove field gate due to the presence of migratory waterfowl on the Point Farm Unit.  Also, dove hunting hours on Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA are one half hour before sunrise until 12 p.m. (noon).

For more information on Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA dove hunting, contact Shane Granier at 504-284-5264 or sgranier@wlf.la.gov .  

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.

State to Launch Official “Louisiana Certified Seafood” Brand

Release Date: 10/11/2012

   

(October 11, 2012)–The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, LSU AgCenter, Louisiana SeaGrant, Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and fisheries industry leaders, launched the Louisiana Certified Seafood Program this week.  This origin-based certification program aims to build a unified brand that will attract not only consumers, but also food service and seafood distribution buyers who want to ensure they are sourcing the best tasting seafood in the world – Louisiana seafood!

“Consumers are paying more attention to their seafood choices, particularly where it’s from and how it’s sourced.  People are demanding transparency in the seafood industry, so we’re giving it to them,” explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.   “This program is three years in the making and demonstrates our Department’s strong commitment to ensuring Louisiana’s delicious seafood will continue to be recognized as the world's finest.”

The program is a direct result of recommendations from the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force, created by Governor Jindal in 2009, to establish rules and guidelines throughout the seafood supply chain enabling the state to certify that “Louisiana Certified Seafood” is taken, landed and processed in Louisiana. 

“We encourage buying and promoting Louisiana products whether it’s in stores, farmer’s markets or restaurants. Our goal is to make sure Louisiana residents seek home grown products to keep our industry strong. People at home and abroad want our produce and seafood because the quality speaks for itself,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.

The Louisiana Seafood Certification program targets Louisiana fishermen, processors, dock owners, grocers and restaurants, to showcase and more importantly brand Louisiana seafood.  Across the globe, people are familiar with “geographically-based” branding including Maine Lobster and Idaho Potatoes.  In the coming years, we hope Louisiana wild-caught shrimp, oyster, crabs and finfish will be synonymous with our great state and the Louisiana Certified Seafood Brand.

“Louisiana’s seafood is recognized for its world-class taste and quality,” said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. “This certification stamp lets consumers know they’re getting authentic Louisiana seafood that is held to the highest standards and strictest inspections in the world.”

 

Program goals include:

  • develop a NATIONALLY recognized brand that distinguishes Louisiana seafood from seafood of another origin;
  • certify and increase consumer confidence that branded seafood is from the Gulf of Mexico, landed, processed and packaged in Louisiana; and
  • promote and market all participants and seafood labeled with this logo.

“Through our current marketing efforts, chefs and consumers across the country are learning the superior taste and quality of Louisiana seafood,” said Ewell Smith, LSPMB executive director. “We are excited to work with the LDWF and other partners to bring customers the guarantee that they are purchasing authentic Louisiana seafood.” 

 

How to participate?

All commercially licensed fishermen automatically qualify for the program. 

This program is VOLUNTARY for docks, processors, dealers, grocers and restaurants, who can apply to receive a Louisiana Certified Seafood permit. 

Fresh Product dealers, docks, and processors must complete a brief online training.  Grocers and restaurants do not need to complete the online training, but are required to complete the application.  

"Louisiana restaurants have long served the bounty of fresh seafood from the rich waters of Louisiana and the Gulf, but until now, a certification program had not been developed," said Stan Harris, President/CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. "Shrimp, crab, oysters, crawfish and finfish have held prized positioning on restaurant menus and have been the ingredients for which Louisiana has become known for worldwide."

More information on training along with application forms may be found at Certified.LouisianaSeafood.com. 

 

Completed form can be mailed to:

Louisiana Wild Seafood Certification Program

P.O. Box 1870

Gray, LA 70359

 

Participants in the program may choose to be featured on the Certified Louisiana Seafood website as a provider of Louisiana Certified Seafood, in an effort to encourage additional business.

For more information, contact Rene LeBreton at 504-286-8745 or Jason Froeba at 225-765-0121.

For press inquiries contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.govor (504)430-2623.

 

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Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Meeting Set for Oct. 16

Release Date: 10/10/2012

The Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council will meet Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 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 4th floor conference roomis as follows:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes of March 15, 2012 and June 12, 2012

3. Welcome and Opening Comments from Chairman

4. Enforcement Division Report

5. Office of Wildlife: Report on Hurricane Isaac Impacts

6. Office of Fisheries: Report on Aquatic Plant Control Program        

7. Office of Fisheries: Report on Bass Regulations in the Atchafalaya Basin

8. Council Discussion of Stated Mission

9. Set Next Meeting Date

10. Receive Public Comments

11. Adjournment

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

 

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L.D.W.F. Presents Proposed Falconry Rules and Regulations Changes To Commission

Release Date: 10/09/2012

Oct. 9, 2012  -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted a notice of intent (NOI) Oct. 4 to amend the rules and regulations governing falconry (hunting with a trained bird of prey such as a hawk).

The NOI presented by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) replaces the existing rules for the sport with expanded rules that combine state rules with federal rules.

Currently, falconers are required to obtain a state and federal falconry permit and a Louisiana Game Breeder’s License.  Effective January 1, 2014, the USFWS will no longer issue falconry permits and individual states wishing to retain falconry programs must adopt their own regulations based on minimum criteria set forth by the USFWS.

The NOI provides for three classes of falconers including apprentice, general and master. A permit applicant is required to pass a written exam and serve a two-year apprenticeship with a general or master falconer. LDWF will also establish an electronic reporting system for falconers, replacing the current paper system.

To view the full notice of intent, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Public comment will be accepted at any monthly LWFC meeting through Dec. 6, 2012 or can be submitted to Kenny Ribbeck, LDWF Wildlife Division, P. O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000, or kribbeck@wlf.la.gov through Dec. 5, 2012.

For more information, contact Jimmy Ernst at 985-543-4777 or jernst@wlf.la.gov.

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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Louisiana Saltwater Series Goes Out With a Bang at Its 2012 Redfish Championship

Release Date: 10/08/2012

LASS 2012 Redfish Champions Luke Landry and Nash Roberts
LASS 2012 Youth of the Year Christopher McElveen
LASS 2012 Team of the Year Sean O’Connell and Joshua Romig

Oct. 8, 2012 The Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Championship held on Oct. 5 and 6, came to an exciting finale with awards going to the Team of the Year, Youth of the Year and Tournament Champions.

In their third year competing in the LASS, Luke Landry and Nash Roberts, both of the New Orleans area, took home top honors with a four-fish total weight of 31.96 pounds.   After fishing the sand bars on both days, Landry and Roberts landed their trophy-winning fish in deep water.  “Due to the wind Friday, the sand bars had dirty water, so we turned to the deep water fish,” explained Landry.  “On day two, we returned to the deep water fish.  The bite was slower, but two large reds sealed the deal.” 

The LASS continues to draw redfish anglers from Texas to Florida and beyond, offering two-angler teams the opportunity to compete in six regular season events.  Low entry fees for the one-day, regular season tournaments allows anglers to fish close to home and minimize expenses, while still being part of a premier inshore, catch and release redfish tournament organization.

“We’ve created a fun, competitive tournament circuit that’s affordable for the weekend fisherman.  The format is one-day and the local stops make it feasible for any Louisiana angler to make the tournaments without investing a lot of time and money,” explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.

Teams fishing any four of the LASS’s six regular-season events or finishing within payout are automatically qualified for the no-entry championship event, pitting qualifiers for a combined payout of over $6,000 in cash and prizes.

As the tournament continues to grow, the series becomes more and more lucrative with each year, with a possible $73,000 in payouts over the course of the series. 

Tournament anglers weren’t the only ones to win big this season.  The Department tagged and released over 1,000 redfish throughout 2012 series, tagging 208 in the championship event alone, the largest single-event total thus far. 

The Department has been tagging fish for years as part of the Louisiana Cooperative Sport Fish Tagging Program.  Through the program, volunteer anglers provide information that is difficult, often impossible, and expensive to obtain by other means.  The impact the LASS tournament series has made on the program is astonishing, with the annual number of tagged fish nearly tripling since 2010. 

The duo of Kim Norton and Charlie Howell were honored at the championship for their tagging efforts with a total of 29 tagged redfish during the 2012 series.

Taking home the Team of the Year Award were the familiar faces of Sean O’Connell and Joshua Roming, who went home with cash in their pockets nearly every tournament this year. 

Christopher McElveen proves that tournament fishing isn’t just for the old folks, going home with the Youth of the Year Award.   Even at his young age, his 9.3 pound catch blew many of the adult competitors out of the water.  Also competing in the youth division was Kendall Gibbs with an 8.21 pound fish.   

The conservation-based tournament also offers multiple ways to win including awards for the most extra fish brought in for tagging and the lightest stringer.

Information on the 2013 Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon be available at lasaltwaterseries.com.

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LDWF Releases Report on the 14” Minimum Length Limit for Largemouth Bass in the Atchafalaya Basin

Release Date: 10/08/2012

(Oct. 8, 2012)– The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries today released a comprehensive report analyzing the 14” minimum length limit for largemouth bass in the Atchafalaya Basin and surrounding waters. 

The report examines the effectiveness of the regulation as a management tool.  Findings show the Atchafalaya Basin largemouth bass population does not exhibit necessary criteria for which a 14” minimum length limit would produce larger bass.  The study indicates that the basin bass population is more heavily influenced by environmental factors than anglers.

“The Atchafalaya Basin bass population will continue to produce the same number of nice size bass, with or without the 14” length limit,” explained LDWF Director of Inland Fisheries Mike Wood. 

Wood further explains the history behind the regulation as well as provides a detailed description of the study and results in his letter to basin anglers found on the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/ldwf-releases-report-14-minimum-length-limit-largemouth-bass-atchafalaya-basin.   The link can also be used to access the full technical report.

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/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.govor (225) 765-2396.

 

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