LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Rebuilding The Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Resource Takes a Step Backward

Release Date: 02/20/2013

February 20, 2013 - At its February meeting the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council rejected a proposal by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that would provide harvest accountability and allow Louisiana’s recreational fishermen to choose their own season dates for recreational red snapper.

 “It’s obvious when looking at recreational landings of red snapper for the Gulf of Mexico that the current federal system of controlling recreational harvest isn’t working.  For the past six years the recreational quota was exceeded five times.  The only year the quota wasn’t exceeded was in 2010, likely a direct result of massive fishery closures resulting from the BP oil spill.  Overages ran from a low of 19 percent to a high of 89 percent in those six years and exceeded 7 million pounds of red snapper which is almost twice the current recreational quota”, said head of Fisheries for Louisiana, LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.

“Our proposal for regional management would have allowed Louisiana to manage its recreational fishery by closing the red snapper season when our allocation of fish was harvested.  In turn, the Gulf Council would allow Louisiana recreational fishermen through the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission process to set the red snapper season dates and daily bag limits,” added Pausina.

In related action, the Gulf Council gave the Regional Director of NOAA the authority to close federal waters (EEZ) beyond those states that are determined to be non-compliant with federal regulations. 

“This is how that action breaks down: because our season doesn’t fit that of the federal season, we will be penalized with an EEZ closure.  The irony is that if we comply with the federal season, history tells us the recreational fishery will overrun its quota.   And the Gulf Council rejected our offer to account for our own recreational harvest and close the red snapper season when our allocation of the resource is reached thereby eliminating an overrun in Louisiana,” concluded Pausina.

Furthermore, a notice of intent was filed today on behalf of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to set a Louisiana, weekend-only recreational red snapper season that would begin Saturday, March 23.  In that notice of intent, LDWF Secretary Robert Barham maintains the authority to modify the season based on further discussions with our federal counterparts and the Gulf Council.

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.

For more information please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.  

 

 

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Portions of Elmer’s Island to Open

Release Date: 02/19/2013

February 19, 2013 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is temporarily opening a section of beach along the Elmer’s Island Refuge effective immediately. The open section will include the area at the end of the access road and continue approximately 0.5 miles to the east. Areas that will remain closed will be clearly marked.

After the opening, road access to Elmer’s Island opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset seven days a week. Night-time access and fishing on the island remain closed, and camping on the beach is strictly prohibited.

The refuge was closed on August 26, 2012 in anticipation of Hurricane Isaac, and has remained closed due to road conditions and continual oiling events. Elmer’s Island continues to experience re-oiling and heavy clean-up operations are ongoing. Clean-up areas will be clearly marked.  Visitors are asked to exercise caution when accessing this area.

Although the beach will be open for day-time public access, workers and state officials will continue to monitor the shoreline in order to continue to respond to oiling impacts. The probationary opening will be assessed after a period of 10 days, and is subject to reconsideration. Any sightings of oil should be reported to LDWF at (800) 442-2511 and the National Response Center (NRC) at (800) 424-8802.

LDWF asks the public not to cross areas covered with water. Winds and wave energy from Hurricane Isaac created washovers which can be covered in water during high tides.

For a map detailing the specific areas open click here

For more information please contact Julia Lightner at jlightner@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-4041.

 

 

 

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LDWF Releases Results of Freshwater Commercial Angler Survey

Release Date: 02/18/2013

(Feb. 18, 2013) – Results of a recent Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries survey of resident, freshwater commercial fishermen are now available online.  The purpose of the survey, conducted last summer, was to collect views and opinions of an often overlooked component of Louisiana’s fishery.

Additional information was also collected to help define the demographics of our commercial fishermen and the issues they contend with.  Please see the attached link for a condensed version of the report (link to Louisiana Freshwater Commercial Angler – Condensed).  The full report is available at (Louisiana Freshwater Commercial Angler – Full 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/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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Environmental Education Commission Meeting Scheduled for Feb. 21

Release Date: 02/18/2013

The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission will meet in Baton Rouge on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 at 6 p.m. in the Bonaparte Room at the Marriott Hotel located at 5500 Hilton Avenue.
 
I. Call to order

II. Roll Call/Sign-in

III. Minutes from last meeting

IV. Financial Report

V. Coordinator’s Report

VI. Old Business

     A. Symposium Committee Reports

        1. Audio Visual

        2. Door Prize/Hospitality

        3. Evaluation

        4. Exhibitor

        5. Finance

        6. Keynote

        7. Programs

        8. Public Relations

       9. Registration

       10. Short Course
 B. Symposium Volunteer Assignments

 C. Environmental Literacy Plan Status

VII. New Business

    A. Discuss date for 2014 Symposium

   B. 2013 Grants Program

   C. Art & Language Arts Contest judges

   D. Future LEEA involvement

VIII.  Announcements

IX.  Next Meeting Dates:  May 14, 2013, Aug. 13, 2013, Nov. 12, 2013

X. Adjournment
 
 
 
 

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Pearl River WMA Hunting Seasons and Road to Close Due to High River Level

Release Date: 02/14/2013

Feb. 14, 2013  -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that all hunting seasons, except waterfowl, on Pearl River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be closed starting Feb 15, 2013, when the river stage at Pearl River, La., reaches 16.5 feet. 

This hunting season closure on the WMA in southeastern St. Tammany Parish will remain in effect until water levels drop below 16.5 feet.  

The gate at Old U.S.Hwy. 11, a primary access point to the WMA, will be closed until the water recedes and all roads and bridges are determined safe for vehicle passage.

To monitor water levels, visit the National Weather Service link at here.  For additional information, contact Christian Winslow at 985-543-4777 or cwinslow@wlf.la.gov.

 

 

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Volunteers Needed For Derelict Crab Trap Clean-Ups

Release Date: 02/14/2013

 (Feb. 14, 2013) – Once again, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in partnership with Louisiana Sea Grant, with assistance from the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, and other volunteer organizations, will host Derelict Crab Trap Clean-ups in portions of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes over the next two months.

Since the program began in 2004, the state has removed and disposed of more than 22,000 derelict and abandoned crab traps. The removal of these traps is not only vital in conserving the blue crab resource, but also improves waterway safety and navigation.

Clean-up schedules are as follows:

The Plaquemines Parish clean-up will begin Feb. 16 at 6 a.m. and end Feb. 25 at 6 a.m. Volunteer clean-up days, hosted by LDWF and LSG, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 23 at Beshel’s Marina in East Point a La Hache.

The St. Bernard Parish clean-up will begin March 9 at 6 a.m. and end March 18 at 6 a.m. A volunteer clean-up day will be hosted by LDWF and LSG on Saturday, March 9 at Breton Sound Marina in Hopedale.

Derelict traps may be collected anytime during the cleanup period. Representative with LDWF and LSG will be available at each disposal site on the volunteer days beginning at 8:30 a.m. to distribute instructions, maps and supplies to volunteers, assist with the unloading of derelict traps and document the number of traps removed.

In order to conduct the trap clean-ups, crab fishermen must remove their crab traps from within the closure area during the closure period, and all remaining crab traps will be considered abandoned and may be removed by agency personnel or volunteers.

Restrictions to clean-up activities are as follows:

  • Crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Individuals removing crab traps may not possess these traps outside of the closure area; and, abandoned traps must be brought to designated disposal sites.
  • Regulations do not provide authorization for public access to private property, as access can only be provided by individual landowners.

Volunteers

Volunteers are needed to assist with dockside activities such as unloading, smashing and stacking traps as boats arrive, however, the greatest need is for boat owners willing to lend a hand in trap retrieval. Volunteers willing to participate in the trap clean-ups are encouraged to pre-register with Louisiana Sea Grant. Registration information, along with other clean-up information is available at: http://www.laseagrant.org/crabtraps/.

Volunteers collecting crab traps are asked to place the traps and buoys at the predetermined disposal sites.

To view a map of the closures areas click here:

For St. Bernard/Plaquemines Parish description area and map, click here:

For Terrebonne Parish description area and map, click here:

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at Louisiana State University, is part of the National Sea Grant Program, a network of 30 programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb, or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information please contact Martin Bourgeois at mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or (985) 594-4130 or Dr. Julie Anderson at janderson@agcenter.lsu.edu or (225) 578-0771.

 

 

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Louisiana Youth Can Register Now for 2012 Hunter of The Year Awards

Release Date: 02/13/2013

Feb. 13, 2013  -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) are encouraging hunters 15 years of age or younger to enter the 2012 Youth Hunter of the Year competition. 

The contest requires youth hunters to submit a story about their hunting experience along with photographs of the hunt.  LDWF and LOWA will then select a male and female youth hunter of the year based upon the stories and photos that are received. 

Visit the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.state.la.us/hunting/youth-hunter-registry-program for information on the Youth Hunter Registry Program and the 2012 Youth Hunter of the Year Contest.

Youth hunters who participated in any hunting activity during the 2012-13 hunting season are encouraged to participate.  This is not a big buck or turkey contest. The program is about youths enjoying a hunting experience, with or without success, and keeping the hunting tradition alive in Louisiana. The deadline to enter the 2012 Youth Hunter of the Year Contest is June 30, 2013.

The two winners will be recognized at the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Conference this summer.  Winners will receive a plaque in recognition of their achievement and a gift certificate from Bowie Outfitters in Baton Rouge.

Additionally, all participants who register their 2012-13 hunting experiences with the Youth Hunter Registry Program will be eligible to win a gift certificate from Bowie Outfitters (winner to be selected by a random drawing).

The Youth Hunter Registry Program and the Youth Hunter of the Year Program are coordinated jointly by LOWA and LDWF. These two programs are made possible by the generous donations of the South LA Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association, the Baton Rouge Chapter of Delta Waterfowl, Andrew Harrison with Harrison Law, LLC., the Louisiana Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and Bowie Outfitters in Baton Rouge.

For more information, contact Scott Durham at 225-765-2351 or sdurham@wlf.la.gov or David Moreland at 225-978-6552 or heflinroots@hotmail.com.

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 Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Adopts a Notice of Intent for Black Bass Regulations in the Atchafalaya Basin, Henderson Lake and Lake Verrett Complex

Release Date: 02/08/2013

 
(Feb. 8, 2013) - Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission adopted a notice of intent that would remove the 14” minimum length limit on black bass in the Atchafalaya Basin, Henderson Lake and Lake Verret Complex.  LDWF biologists made this recommendation based both on results of an LDWF study and angler input.
 
As a temporary transition measure, LDWF staff recommends a reduction in daily creel limit from 10 to 7 bass for a two-year period.  After the two years, black bass regulations on these waterbodies would be consistent with statewide regulations – no length limit with a 10 fish daily creel.
 
An extensive, three-year study examined 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, including water fluctuation and the effects of tropical storms, rather than angler harvest.
 
Results of the study were distributed throughout various media outlets including print, radio and television, and public opinion was requested.  Over 450 responses were received, and Atchafalaya Basin anglers were in agreement with the LDWF study and approval of removing the 14” minimum length for bass by an overwhelming margin of 91 percent.
 
To view the full notice of intent, please visit here.  Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed rule by March 31, 2013, to Mike Wood, Office of Fisheries, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email at comment@wlf.la.gov.
 
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 Notices of Intent for Hunting Seasons, Hunting Regulations and W.M.A. Rules

Release Date: 02/08/2013

Feb. 8, 2013  -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted notices of intent for the 2013-15 hunting seasons and the 2013-14 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) General Rules and Regulations at their Feb. 7 meeting.

The notices of intent include proposed hunting season dates and changes from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for the upcoming fall hunting seasons and provide for a public comment period.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Alterations in deer areas and seasons to include a new Area 4, Area 9 and Area 10, plus re-aligned Areas 1, 6 and 7.
  • Standardized crawfish limits on all Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) allowing up to 100 lbs/person/day.
  • Feral hog, experimental trapping, from May 1 to Aug. 31, by permit only on Boeuf, Clear Creek, Jackson-Bienville, Manchac, Pearl River, Red River, Sherburne, Thistlethwaite, Three Rivers and West Bay WMAs; permits to be available at regional LDWF field offices.
  • Elbow Slough WMA: proposed lottery-only hunts for Mourning Dove on opening weekend of 1st split.
  • Pearl River WMA: proposed return to deer season framework and length utilized pre-Hurricane Katrina.
  • Maurepas Swamp WMA: proposed reduction in deer hunting days from 42 days to 28 days to be consistent with proposed New Area 9 season.
  • Salvador/Timken WMA: proposed Experimental Night-time Activity Season; plus deer hunting to be allowed after 12 noon.
  • Thistlethwaite WMA: proposed 10-year Experimental Quality Deer Management Season to include ending current experimental season and adopting new experimental season with altered season structure.
  • Kisatchie National Forest: proposed addition of a Youth Deer Hunt and still hunting only for all deer hunting.
  • Primitive Gear: proposed addition of single shot, breech loading shotguns, 10-gauge or smaller, having an exposed hammer, loaded with buckshot or rifled slug.

To view the full notices of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes for the upcoming hunting season and a presentation on recommended deer season changes for 2013-15, with area maps, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Public comment will be accepted at LWFC monthly meetings from March through May and/or can be submitted in writing by mail to: Steve Smith, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email to ssmith@wlf.la.gov until 4:30 p.m., 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 Centurytel 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 or ssmith@wlf.la.gov.

 

 

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Body of Shaw Man Recovered from Cocodrie Bayou

Release Date: 02/08/2013

 
Feb. 8, 2013 -- Search and rescue officials recovered the body of a Shaw man from Cocodrie Bayou in Concordia Parish this morning, Feb. 8.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents and Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies recovered the body of Louis Fisher, 84, around 9:45 a.m.

Officials were notified about a fisherman who apparently had fallen overboard in Cocodrie Bayou at 4 p.m. on Feb. 7.  According to family, Fisher was running trot lines in Cocodrie Bayou.

Fisher’s body was turned over to the Concordia Parish Coroner’s Office to determine a cause of death.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.

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

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