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LDWF News Release

REVISED Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda for May 2, 2013

Release Date: 04/30/2013

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, May 2, 2013, at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 North Flannery Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70814.

The following items will be discussed:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes of April 4, 2013

3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4. To Hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/April

5. To Consider a Resolution to Rename the Three Rivers Red River WMA Complex to the Richard K. Yancey WMA

6. To Hear Final Public Comment Presentation on 2013-2015 Hunting Season Dates 

7. To Consider Notice of Intent and Amended Notice of Intent for the 2013-2015 Hunting Season Dates.   

8. To Hear Final Public Comment Presentation on Notice of Intent for 2013-2014 General and WMA Hunting Rules and Regulations

9. To Consider Notice of Intent and Amended Notice of Intent for 2013-2014 General and WMA Hunting Rules and Regulations

10. Recognition of Partners’ Roles in LDWF Education Programs

11. To Consider a Declaration of Emergency on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill

12. To Consider a Declaration of Emergency on Setting the Opening Dates of the 2013 Spring Inshore and Territorial Sea Shrimp Seasons

13. To Consider Notice of Intent for Traversing Louisiana Waters by Mississippi Residents

14. Set September 2013 Meeting Date

15. Receive Public Comments

16.  Executive Session to Discuss Prospective Litigation relative to return of Artificial Reef Fund      Monies

17. To Hear Request for Designation of “Free Fishing Days” Scheduling in June

18. Adjournment

 

 

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Louisiana Crab Task Force to Meet May 7, 2013

Release Date: 04/30/2013

The next meeting of the Louisiana Crab Task Force will be on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Waddill Outdoor Education Center.  The Waddill Center is located at 4142 North Flannery Rd. in Baton Rouge. 
Agenda items will include:

  • Review of personal financial disclosure reporting requirements
  • Review of Crab Task Force standard operating procedures
  • Update on balances in the derelict crab trap removal and crab promotion and marketing accounts
  • Serviceable crab trap sub-committee meeting report
  • 2013 derelict crab trap removal rodeo results
  • Immature female blue crab harvests
  • Enhancing professionalism in the blue crab fishery

EDITORS:  For more information, contact Carl Britt at 985-882-0027, or cbritt@wlf.la.gov

Two Louisiana Men Charged with Alligator Violations and Arrested

Release Date: 04/30/2013

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent cited two Louisiana men for alleged alligator violations on April 29 in Ascension Parish.

The agent cited Jason T. Causey, 23, of Gonzales, and Shane H. Knapp, 23, of Baton Rouge, for taking alligators during a closed season, hunting alligators at night with a firearm, illegal possession of alligators, taking alligators without a license, unauthorized use of a moveable, violating frog regulations for possessing a firearm, taking a bullfrog during a closed season and fishing without a basic fishing license.

After receiving an anonymous complaint of illegal activity at Alligator Bayou Tours, LDWF Sgt. Dennis Bueche and Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office (APSO) deputies arrived on scene around 12:10 a.m. on April 29.  Once on scene they heard an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), gunshots and saw a spotlight inside the Alligator Bayou Tours property.

After a brief search, the deputies and LDWF agent were able to contact Causey and Knapp and found them in possession of an illegally harvested 10 foot alligator that had been shot in the head with a .45 caliber pistol that was also in their possession.  After further investigation, it was determined that the ATV belonged to Alligator Bayou Tours and that Knapp and Causey were using the ATV to attempt to drag the alligator back to their truck.

Knapp and Causey were also found with a dead bullfrog and allegedly admitted to fishing earlier in the evening without basic fishing licenses.

The APSO charged Knapp and Causey with trespassing, illegal use of a firearm and criminal damage to private property.  LDWF seized the .45 caliber pistol.  The APSO impounded their truck and booked Knapp and Causey into the Ascension Parish Jail.

Hunting alligators during a closed season, hunting alligators at night with a firearm and illegal possession of an alligator each brings up to a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Taking alligators without a license, violating frog regulations and taking a bullfrog during a closed season each carries up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Fishing without a basic fishing license brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Unauthorized use of a moveable carries up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in jail.

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

REVISED Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 04/29/2013

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, May 2, 2013, at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 North Flannery Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70814.

The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of March 7, 2013

3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.  To Hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/April

5.  To Consider a Resolution to Rename the Three Rivers Red River WMA Complex to the Richard K. Yancey WMA

6.  To Hear Final Public Comment Presentation on 2013-2015 Hunting Season Dates                

7.  To Consider Notice of Intent and Amended Notice of Intent for the 2013-2015 Hunting Season Dates. 

8. To Hear Final Public Comment Presentation on Notice of Intent for 2013-2014 General and WMA Hunting Rules and Regulations

9.  To Consider Notice of Intent and Amended Notice of Intent for 2013-2014 General and WMA Hunting Rules and Regulations

10.  Recognition of Partners’ Roles in LDWF Education Programs

11.  To Consider a Declaration of Emergency on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill

12.  To Consider a Declaration of Emergency on Setting the Opening Dates of the 2013 Spring Inshore and Territorial Sea Shrimp Seasons 

13.  To Consider Notice of Intent for Traversing Louisiana Waters by Mississippi Residents

14.  Set September 2013 Meeting Date

15.  Receive Public Comments

16.  Executive Session to Discuss Prospective Litigation relative to return of Artificial Reef Fund  Monies

17.  Adjournment

 

Acoustic Telemetry Tagging, a Powerful Tool for LDWF

Release Date: 04/29/2013

LASS tournament tagging efforts offer a clearer, more complete picture of the spotted seatrout

(April 29, 2013) – Until now, there has been a lack of detailed scientific information about the movement of spotted seatrout, otherwise known to thousands of Louisiana anglers as speckled trout.  In the fall of 2012, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries launched an acoustic telemetry tagging project on Lake Pontchartrain to collect continuous data on individual spotted seatrout movements over time.  The data collected will give insight to seasonal migration patterns, habitat use, and how movements may vary between sexes.

In conjunction with the Department’s tagging efforts, the Louisiana Saltwater Series, sponsored by Shimano and PowerPro, will host a catch and release speckled trout tournament on Saturday, May 25, 2013, at the Mandeville Public Boat Launch and Harbor.  The tournament follows a week-long spring tagging event, where LDWF and LSU staff will implant acoustic tags in speckled trout provided by volunteer anglers before releasing them back into Lake Pontchartrain.  Some of the fish brought in to the scales at the tournament will be used as part of this program.

“Spotted seatrout are extremely common in Louisiana estuaries and coastal waters and are of considerable recreational and economic importance,” explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “The spatial ecology of this species is significantly understudied, so we have developed this project to address this gap in knowledge.  Incorporating our Louisiana Saltwater Series Tournament into the program is another great way to garner support and awareness.”

Acoustic tags are much more effective for tracking fish movement than traditional tagging techniques.  Conventional tagging involves marking and releasing a fish that will hopefully be recaptured at a future date.  This method yields very few data points:  the location of the fish at initial capture and its location during potential recaptures.  All movement of the fish between recapture points – potentially months or years apart – is lost.

Volunteer anglers participate in the tagging events and transport trout to an LDWF surgery boat where fish are implanted with transmitters.  Surgery is performed as quickly as possible.  Fish are then placed in a recovery tank and are released over the side of the boat after a monitoring period to ensure they are healthy for release.

These tagged fish are very valuable to this research project, and we ask that if caught, they be released so that data can continue to be collected.  Tagged fish that are part of this program can be recognized by a blue external dart tag.  Please call the number provided on the blue tag, and report the date, time, location of catch, and health of the fish when released.  If a fish with an internal transmitter is retained, please return the transmitter to A. Ferguson, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, La. 70808.

Participating teams in the Louisiana Saltwater Series Trout Tournament may consist of up to a total of four anglers, with only two adult anglers (16 years of age and older).  In addition to 100 percent payout and prizes, we are pleased to announce the Academy Sports and Outdoors is sponsoring additional prize money including $500 for first place team, $250 for first place youth, and $250 for the extra tagged fish prize.  Teams are also allowed to bring in extra fish in addition to their weigh fish to be entered into drawings for special prizes, with the number of entries determined by the number of extra fish to be brought in to be tagged.  Extra raffle entries can also be earned for each Louisiana Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program data card presented.

Online registration at $150 per team is now open for the speckled trout tournament on www.lasaltwaterseries.com.  Online registration will remain open until Thursday, May 23, but interested anglers will still have the opportunity to register onsite for $200 per team. 

Tournament sponsors include Shimano, PowerPro, Daybrook Fisheries, Plaquemines Parish, Mercury Marine, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Standard Mapping, Faux Pas Prints, Marsh & Bayou, Swamp Swatter, Frabill, Stick It Anchor Pins and YETI Coolers.  A special thanks also goes out to the city of Mandeville for all of their support and assistance. 

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

 

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Acadiana Sportsmen’s League Honors Robert Love for Career Conservation Work

Release Date: 04/26/2013

Robert “Bob’ Love (left) receives Acadiana Sportsmen’s League Emeritus Award from ASL’s Ken Bordelon. (Photo by Lisa Soileaux)

April 26, 2013 -- The Acadiana Sportsmen’s League recently honored Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Robert “Bob’ Love for his dedication to the state’s wildlife resources for over 30 years.
 
Love received the ASL’s Emeritus Award at the league’s annual banquet on April 20 in Crowley. Past recipients have included Joe Herring, Harold Schoffler, Bud Carpenter and Wesley Perry.
 
“Louisiana’s coastal zone has to be one of the most dynamic places in the world for any biologist to work,” said Love. “Considering the negative impacts from recent major hurricanes, the largest oil spill in U.S. history, followed by a serious drought year, and then a record Mississippi River flood event, it is indeed a challenging place to work. But through all those challenges over the many years I have been here, the field biologists have continued to achieve successes in alligator research, the de-listing of the brown pelican and bald eagle, and now the early stages of whooping crane re-population.”
 
Love currently serves as LDWF’s Coastal and Non-game Resources Division administrator. He began his career as a wildlife specialist in the Baton Rouge District VII office for the Wildlife Division.  Early in his career he worked with many game species, nuisance wildlife species and species of special concern, including alligators.
 
After working on all WMA’s throughout the Florida parishes, he was promoted through the biologist ranks to serve as biologist program manager for nine years, responsible for purchasing conservation lands for WMA’s and refuges. He served 18 years in the Wildlife Division before serving the last 14 years in what was previously known as the Fur and Refuge Division. 
   
As division administrator, Love oversees personnel responsible for coastal marshes on six refuges and eight Wildlife Management Areas, and the management and supervision of fur, alligator, rare, threatened and endangered species, and reptile and amphibian resources within the state. The CNR Division is currently coordinating the state’s whooping crane re-population effort.
 
Love received his undergraduate degree in biology from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois in 1975.  He received his master’s degree in wildlife management in 1981 from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.  His master’s degree thesis focused on the food habits of nutria in brackish marshes, with field work on the State Wildlife Refuge in Vermilion Parish.
 
Over his career, Love has been involved in wildlife groups including the Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, LSU Forestry Wildlife and Fisheries Alumni Association, The Wildlife Society, LA Professional Biologist Association and others.
 
For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

 

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Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meetings

Release Date: 04/25/2013

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, May 2, 2013, at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 North Flannery Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70814.

The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of March 7, 2013

3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.  To Hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/April

5.  To Consider a Resolution to Rename the Three Rivers Red River WMA Complex to the Richard K. Yancey WMA

6.  To Hear Final Public Comment Presentation on 2013-2015 Hunting Season Dates 

7.  To Consider Notice of Intent and Amended Notice of Intent for the 2013-2015 Hunting Season Dates.   

8.  To Hear Final Public Comment Presentation on Notice of Intent for 2013-2014 General and WMA Hunting Rules and Regulations

9.  To Consider Notice of Intent and Amended Notice of Intent for 2013-2014 General and WMA Hunting Rules and Regulations

10.  Recognition of Partners’ Roles in LDWF Education Programs

11.  To Consider a Declaration of Emergency on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill

12.  To Consider a Declaration of Emergency on Setting the Opening Dates of the 2013 Spring Inshore and Territorial Sea Shrimp Seasons

13.  Set September 2013 Meeting Date

14.  Receive Public Comments

15.  Executive Session to Discuss Prospective Litigation relative to return of Artificial Reef Fund Monies

16.  Adjournment

 

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Louisiana and Texas Fisheries Agencies File Joint Lawsuit Challenging Red Snapper Emergency Rule

Release Date: 04/23/2013

Agencies Emphasize They Will Keep All Options Open to Resolve Issue Cooperatively

April 23, 2013 – (BATON ROUGE) Late yesterday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and its Commission, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) joined together to file a lawsuit in United States District Court in Brownsville, Texas challenging an emergency regulation enacted by the federal National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that, if left in place, would allow the NMFS regional administrator to significantly reduce the recreational red snapper season in federal waters off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas. 

“The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, on behalf of recreational fishermen and those whose livelihood depends on reasonable access to red snapper stocks, has taken this action to send the message to NMFS that a nine-day season for Louisiana landings is totally unreasonable and unacceptable,” said Ronald “Ronny” Graham, LWFC chairman.

“While we would prefer a cooperative regional management approach and are still hopeful that we can reach such a resolution, TPWD has a responsibility to take legal action to protect our state’s authority to manage the red snapper fishery within Texas waters,” said T. Dan Friedkin of Houston, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission chairman. “We have heard loudly and clearly from our anglers and other stakeholders that they expect nothing less from us.”

On Feb. 8, over the strong objections of state agency representatives from Louisiana, Texas, and Florida, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) voted to implement an emergency rule that could shorten the recreational red snapper fishing season in federal waters off the Texas coast to as few as 12 days and to nine days off the Louisiana coast, down from a projected 22-day season. In 2012, the snapper season in federal waters throughout the Gulf was 46 days. In contrast, because snapper stocks are doing well and growing in the Gulf, snapper fishing is allowed 365 days a year in Texas state waters and 88 days in Louisiana state waters.

Just weeks later, on April 18, the Gulf council voted 8 to 7 to overturn the emergency rule, in effect reversing the Feb. 8 vote. Louisiana and Texas representatives said the lawsuit was an added measure of enforceability should NMFS not act on the latest council motion prior to the start of red snapper season June 1. The federal court has been asked to expedite its consideration of the case so that a decision is reached before June 1.

As published in the federal register on March 25, the emergency rule would authorize the National Marine Fisheries Service southeast regional administrator to reduce the red snapper season in federal exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters off Louisiana and Texas. The federal EEZ extends 200 miles from the coastline and has an inner boundary that is coterminous with each state’s territorial boundary. Territorial waters off Texas extend nine miles from the state’s coast.  Louisiana’s state territorial waters have traditionally been three miles, but in June 2012, the LWFC declared the gulfward boundary for Louisiana to be nine miles for the purposes of fisheries management, implementing the will of the Louisiana Legislature as expressed in Act 336 of 2011. The action taken by the LWFC to extend the state territorial boundary has not been recognized by Congress nor has it been adjudicated in court.  The rule affects Florida as well, since all three states have refused to shorten snapper seasons in state waters to mirror seasons set by NMFS for federal waters.

"I am hopeful that NMFS will follow the Gulf Council and overturn the emergency rule that arbitrarily reduces the red snapper season in Louisiana's territorial waters to no more than nine days,” said Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.  “However, this lawsuit is a necessary step to protect the State's ability to set reasonable fishing regulations for in-state waters for the benefit of Louisiana's residents and anglers."

The joint lawsuit alleges that there is no emergency to justify such a rule.  The two states also allege that the emergency rule violates the federal policy of cooperative federalism by improperly attempting to regulate the red snapper season in state waters.

Although LDWF and TPWD are continuing to work with NMFS and the other Gulf states on a solution, the short deadline for challenging the emergency regulation required filing the lawsuit to preserve the states’ ability to address the issue in a timely and effective manner. 

The Louisiana and Texas agencies maintain that while a proposed shortened season will have no apparent conservation benefit, it would definitely have an economic impact. For Louisiana, reducing a 46-day season to a nine-day season could result in an estimated decline in economic value of approximately $8 million to recreational anglers in that state. TPWD estimates that the originally projected 27-day season would generate at least $28 million from recreational fishermen in Texas, while a 12-day season would cut that figure by at least $16 million in lost retail sales in Texas. 

To view the lawsuit petition filed by LDWF and TPWD, click here.

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, (225)765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov; or Laura Wooderson, (225) 610-2363, lwooderson@wlf.la.gov; or Tom Harvey with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, (512) 389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.state.tx.us.

 

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Declaration of Emergency Issued for Improvements to Huey P. Long Fish Hatchery

Release Date: 04/22/2013

(April 22, 2012) –Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham has issued a Declaration of Emergency for pond improvements at the Huey P. Long Fish Hatchery facility in Lacombe, La.

The improvements will include the re-shaping and reconfiguring of five existing hatchery ponds, new kettle drains, a new drainage and air lift system. This notice constitutes a declaration of emergency in accordance with LA R.S. 38:2211 et. seq. 

The Department of Wildlife & Fisheries will utilize the best available means to complete the required work in a timely and safe manner.

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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Dwayne Eschete and Clark Jordan, Winners of the Second Louisiana Saltwater Series of the 2013 Season

Release Date: 04/21/2013

 
The second event of the LASS Redfish Series at Calcasieu Point Landing in Lake Charles continued with a success hosting 42 teams from across the Gulf Coast.   The teams took to the waters of Lake Calcasieu looking for a perfect pair of redfish.  As 2:00 pm rolled around, the first teams made their way to the scale.  This catch and release format challenged anglers to catch a limit of two legal redfish using artificial lures only.
 
Winners from many of our past tournaments were in attendance as well as many new anglers, making this a true test of skill on what started out with a cold morning almost breaking the record low temperature for this time of year. Warmer afternoon temperatures, clear skies and sunshine brought out family, friends and fans to watch the LASS Redfish weigh in.
 
Familiar faces to the redfish tournament world, Eschete, from Madisonville, Louisiana and Jordan, from Pearland, Texas, took home the top prize participating in their first LASS trail experience. The pair only caught about 30 redfish, but two of them were the right ones to take home the win with 16.35 pounds.
“I was very impressed with the tournament staff and how it was run”, Clark Jordan said, adding “Today was a great day of fishing for Dwayne and I. We were able to sight cast all of our fish in some marsh just a few miles from the launch.”
 
Nick Ward and Joe Causer took home a rod and reel package sponsored by Shimano for winning one of the extra fish raffle prizes.  Teams are allowed to bring in extra fish in addition to their weigh-in fish to be entered into drawings for special prizes, with the number of entries determined by the number of extra fish brought in to be tagged.   
 
The top finishing teams, taking home over $7,460 in cash prizes, include: 2nd place, Josh Romig and John Saucier; 3rd place, Chris Gaspard and William Benoit; 4th place, Nick Ward and Joe Causer; 5th place, Skip Floyd and Brian Frederick; 6th place, Trey Pearson and Reagan Baker; 7th place, Jack and Vito Neal; 8th place, Jeremy Waltrip and Josh Johnson; and for the team with ‘smallest fish’, Michael McElveen and Rob Folsom.  The awards ceremony was rounded out with recognition of all youth anglers and Preston Pescay took home first place youth by weighing in a beautiful 3.15 pound redfish.  
 
A total of 87 redfish and a lagniappe speckled trout were brought in, tagged and released as part of the Louisiana Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program, where anglers become citizen scientists for the agency, collecting invaluable data.
 
The next redfish tournament is scheduled for Saturday, May 4 in Lafitte at Seaway Marina.  For complete information, including rules, regulations and registration go to www.lasaltwaterseries.com.
 
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.
 

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