Fishing

LDWF Reminds Crab Fishermen of Regulation Changes and Derelict Trap Closures

Release Date: 01/11/2018

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to remind commercial crabbers and recreational users of crab traps of the following regulations:
           
Regulation changes:
 
Blue crab commercial harvest regulations have changed for 2018 and 2019 and are as follows:

  • The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission removed the 30-day closure period for 2018 and 2019.
  • The commercial harvest of female blue crabs in Louisiana waters is prohibited March 1, 2018, through April 30, 2018. This closure will also be in place March 1, 2019, through April 30, 2019.

Regulations to remain in effect in 2018 and 2019:

  • Ban on the commercial harvest of immature female blue crabs. There is an exception for immature female blue crabs held for processing as softshell crabs or being sold to a processor for the making of softshell crabs. Additionally, legally licensed commercial crab fishermen may have an incidental take of immature female crabs not to exceed two percent of the total number of crabs in possession. Crabs in a work box, used to sort or cull undersized and/or immature female crabs, are not subject to the restriction while held aboard an active fishing vessel. (An immature female crab, also known as a “maiden” or “V-bottom” crab, can be identified as having a triangular shaped apron on her abdomen. A mature female crab can be identified as having a dome shaped apron on her abdomen). 

Temporary crab trap closures: 
 
The LWFC has authorized crab trap closures in 2018 for the removal of derelict and abandoned crab traps. Beginning February 1, 2018, and extending through March 2018, seven defined areas have been designated to close in portions Louisiana, for up to 16 days for any one area.
 
Western Lake Pontchartrain will close from February 1 through 10. A portion of the Barataria Basin, south of Myrtle Grove, will close from February 1 through14. More closures will take place beginning February 16. To view the specific closure areas, visit our website here or contact Peyton Cagle at (337) 491-2575.
 
All crab traps must be removed from the closure areas before the closure periods, and any remaining crab traps within the closure areas during the closure periods will be considered abandoned and subject to removal. During the crab trap closures, derelict traps may be removed only between one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset. Only persons authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission may remove these abandoned crab traps from within the closed areas. Abandoned traps must be brought to designated disposal sites and may not be taken from the closed areas. 
 
The removal of derelict crab traps benefits the crab resource by reducing the effects of ghost fishing. Since 2004, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, together with individual volunteers and organizations, has successfully removed and disposed of over 33,000 abandoned and derelict crabs. 

Recreational greater amberjack season to close from January 27 through the end of June.

Release Date: 01/11/2018

January 11, 2018 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the season for the recreational harvest of greater amberjack will close in Louisiana waters on January 27, 2018, and remain closed through June 30, 2018.  The recreational season opened on January 1, 2018, and will run through January 26, 2018, and then is scheduled to resume on July 1, 2018.  NOAA Fisheries announced the temporary closed season while new regulations are being enacted to establish new spring and fall seasons.  The changes in season structure are designed to help rebuild the greater amberjack stock.  NOAA Fisheries requested that Louisiana state waters also remain closed for that period.   

In addition to the closure announced today, additional proposed changes are being promulgated by NOAA Fisheries to the recreational season to include a recreational fixed closed season from November 1 each year through the end of April of the following year.  The currently-established June 1 to July 31 fixed closed season will also remain.  The new season structure will result in an open recreational season during the month of May and the months of August through October annually.  These changes to the season structure are intended to continue to rebuild the greater amberjack stock while maximizing availability to anglers, especially later in the year.  

The recreational fishery was closed early in 2017 before many Louisiana anglers had an opportunity to fish for the species.  These proposed changes should improve those opportunities for future years.  For 2018, anglers should be aware of the potential for additional seasonal openings and closings.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in previously promulgated rules (LAC 76.VII.335.G.5) to change or modify the opening and closing dates for any recreational reef fish season in Louisiana waters when notified of a modification to a season by NOAA Fisheries.  

For more information, contact Jason Adriance at (504) 284-2032 or jadriance @wlf.la.gov. 

 

 

LDWF Accepting Public Input on Application for Permit to Test State Management of Recreational Red Snapper Fishery and Collect Habitat Data

Release Date: 01/10/2018

On January 18, 2018, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be submitting an application to NOAA Fisheries for an exempted fishing permit (EFP). NOAA Fisheries issues these permits to authorize activities, which would otherwise be prohibited by federal fishery regulations, for limited testing, data collection, exploratory fishing, and other purposes. NOAA Fisheries invited the Gulf states to apply for EFPs to lead reef fish management activities in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
LDWF’s proposed EFP study would test a state-based management approach that would allow recreational harvest of red snapper in both state and federal waters off Louisiana during seasons set by the state. LDWF would monitor landings through Louisiana’s existing recreational landings data collection program (LA Creel) and track fishing at oil and gas platforms, artificial reefs, and natural bottom habitat. Participants would also have the option to test new, voluntary electronic reporting methods. Seasons would be closed when landings approach or reach Louisiana’s recreational quota.
 
Anyone with a Louisiana Saltwater Fishing License and a Recreational Offshore Fishing Permit (ROLP) would be eligible to participate in the study. Participants would be required to indicate their preference to participate in the study via their ROLP account, provide vessel registration information (per federal requirements), and abide by the federal minimum size limit (currently 16 inches) and two fish bag limit.
 
Anglers and for-hire captains who would rather not participate in the EFP study would only be able fish for red snapper in state waters during the open state waters season or in federal waters under regulations set by NOAA Fisheries. However, it should be noted that the 2018 season could be extremely limited, especially in light of NOAA Fisheries request for these EFP applications as well as the extended 2017 recreational red snapper season exceeding the quota.
 
You can read the draft application and related frequently asked questions online. Keep in mind that this application is still in draft form and is subject to change—we would appreciate your feedback on the draft application by Tuesday, January 16, 2018, before we finalize our application for submission. Please send us comments via this form or by simply emailing redsnapper@wlf.la.gov .
 
LDWF will present its final EFP application at the upcoming Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter in New Orleans on January 31, 2018. You can provide feedback in person at the meeting or submit comments to the Gulf Council online. The EFP application will then be published in theFederal Register and made available for public comment for 30 days. Based on public comments, the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Administrator will decide whether or not to approve LDWF’s EFP application.

Freezing Temps May Provide Temporary Reduction in Giant Salvinia

Release Date: 01/08/2018

Last week’s temperatures dipping into the 20s and hovering in the low 30s may have caused some people to worry about their vegetation, but for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, it offers a sign of hope in the state’s fight against giant salvinia, an invasive aquatic plant overtaking many of the state’s freshwater systems.
 
Biologists with LDWF hope the freeze will result in a reduction of salvinia this spring and summer, as it did in 2010 when salvinia coverage was drastically reduced following a winter freeze.
 
LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet, who was with state Rep. Gene Reynolds on Saturday at Lake Bistineau, said they saw what appears to be a die back of salvinia on the lake. Lake Bistineau, a popular recreational site in north Louisiana, runs through Webster, Bossier and Bienville parishes.
 
However, significant visible reduction in coverage will not likely occur for a few months due to the amount of time it takes the plant to decompose. The department also notes that although the freezing temperatures may cause some level of die-off, it will not completely eradicate it.
 
Unfortunately, the cold weather may have killed the salvinia weevils brought in to attack the plant. The department will continue to monitor the salvinia weevils to determine the impacts of the freezing temperatures to the population. LDWF plans to have at the ready a new supply of weevils to restock once optimal weather conditions allow later this year. The department will also continue its chemical spray efforts on lakes where growth is present.
 
Giant salvinia, or salvinia molesta, one of the world's most noxious aquatic weeds, is notorious for dominating slow-moving or quiet freshwaters.
 
Its rapid growth, vegetative reproduction and tolerance to environmental stress make it an aggressive and competitive species. It is known to degrade water quality for fish and other aquatic organisms, and to impede boating and swimming which could affect the economy in some areas.

 

LDWF Warns Public of Potential Fish Kills Due to Freezing Temps

Release Date: 01/05/2018

As an arctic blast continues to move across the state, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to warn the public of potential fish kills throughout coastal Louisiana as a result of freezing water temperatures.  

 

It is still too early to determine what, if any, impact the cooler temperatures may have on fish populations. Many fish that may have been killed by the freeze would still be on the bottom of water bodies, and may not be visible for a week or more.   

 

Coastal species commonly impacted by low water temperatures are sand seatrout, (a.k.a. "white trout"), red drum, black drum, and spotted seatrout.

 

“Typically water temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for any more than a day begin to cause problems for spotted seatrout, whereas red drum are slightly more tolerant and will begin to experience problems in the mid-30s,” explained LDWF fisheries biologist Jason Adriance. “The rate at which the water cools is also important. If fish have a chance to acclimate and move, the potential for survival is better.”

 

More definitive estimates of the effects of the freeze on fish population sizes and distribution within the coastal areas will be available as information is collected through the department’s fishery-independent monitoring programs.  Later, success rates from fishery-dependent monitoring, including both recreational and commercial sampling, will provide an indication of how the changes in population sizes affected the harvest.  

Should you come across significant numbers of dead or dying fish, LDWF encourages you to contact the department. Contact information along with requested reporting specifics, is available here: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fish-kills.  Important information to include in your report are your name and phone number in case additional information is needed, along with the location including good directions to the fish kill site, the approximate numbers and species that you saw, and their condition (still dying, all dead, decomposing, etc.).

 

People should also be aware that legal creel and size limits are in effect, and harvest of fish beyond those limits is illegal.

 

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.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

Louisiana Crab Task Force to Meet January 9 at 1:00 p.m.

Release Date: 01/04/2018

                                                                             

Louisiana Crab Task Force Meeting

Pete Gerica, chairman

Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 1:00pm

UNO Advanced Technology Center 

2021 Lakeshore Dr., STE 210

New Orleans, LA 70148

 

AGENDA

 

I. Roll Call and Introduction of Guests

II. Approval of October 10, 2017 Minutes and January 9, 2018 Agenda

III. Financial Report

IV. New Business

     A. Discussion of an Amendment to the two-month crab season closure wherein, the carvest of all Crabs would be included in the closure of the season for an entire month and to consider scheduling the closure earlier in the year- Representative Jerry Gisclair    

     B. To Hear an Update on the 2018 Derelict Crab Trap Closures- Peyton Cagle

     C. To Hear a Presentation on Crab Import Data- Jack Isaacs

     D. To Submit 3 CTF Nominations for Consideration to be Appointed to the Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board  – CTF

     E. Discussion of Blue Crab Bycatch Regulations/ Limit Proposal- George Jackson

     F. Discussion of Task Force Name Tags and T-Shirts- Warren Delacroix

    G. Discussion of Crab Task Force Ethics Requirements- Warren Delacroix

    H. Officer Elections

V. Public Comment

VI. Set Next Meeting

VII. Adjourn

 

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend.  To listen in to the meeting via webinar register athttps://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2203924166716895747

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.

 

To sign up for LDWF commercial fishing alerts sent as text messages or as emails, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/signup. For press inquiries please contact Rene LeBreton, 504-286-8745 or rlebreton@wlf.la.gov

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to rlebreton@wlf.la.gov at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

 

 

RECREATIONAL GRAY TRIGGERFISH SEASON TO CLOSE FROM JANUARY 16 THROUGH THE END OF FEBRUARY.

Release Date: 01/03/2018

January 3, 2018 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the season for the recreational harvest of gray triggerfish will close in Louisiana waters on January 16, 2018 and remain closed through February 28, 2018. The recreational season will open as originally scheduled on January 1, 2018 and run through January 15, 2018 and then resume on March 1, 2018. NOAA Fisheries announced that new regulations are being enacted to help rebuild the gray triggerfish stock. NOAA Fisheries requested that Louisiana state waters also remain closed for that period.  The changes to the recreational season include an additional recreational fixed closed season from January 1 through the end of February of each year along with the currently established June 1 to July 31 fixed closed season.

 

Further changes enacted by NOAA Fisheries include size and bag limit changes which will also take effect in federal waters on January 16.  These changes include an increase in the recreational minimum size to 15 inches fork length and a reduction in the recreational bag limit to 1 gray triggerfish per angler per day within the 20-reef fish aggregate bag limit (species within the 20-reef fish aggregate are vermillion snapper, lane snapper, almaco jack, gray triggerfish, and tilefishes). Commercial trip limits have also changed to 16 gray triggerfish per trip. These additional changes to gray triggerfish regulations will be addressed at a future Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting.

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in previously promulgated rules (LAC 76.VII.335.G.5) to change or modify the opening and closing dates for any recreational reef fish season in Louisiana waters when notified of a modification to a season by NOAA Fisheries.  

 

For more information, contact Jason Adriance at (504) 284-2032 or jadriance@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.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

NOAA Fisheries Certifies Louisiana Recreational Creel Survey

Release Date: 12/29/2017

Today, NOAA Fisheries announced the certification of the Louisiana Recreational Creel (LA Creel) survey design. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries uses LA Creel as an alternative general survey to estimate recreational fishing catch and effort, or number of angler trips. It was designed to provide catch estimates for offshore fisheries, that are more precise than the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) general survey estimates, to allow estimates by state drainage basin that were not currently feasible under MRIP, and also to provide preliminary estimates weekly during the fishing season.

On Background

Since 2014, the State and NOAA Fisheries, along with outside consultants, have been working collaboratively to develop and refine the LA Creel sampling and estimation methods. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries developed the survey design, and MRIP provided technical support for subsequent improvement that was a collaborative project between the agencies. MRIP also coordinated the independent peer review of the design.

Now that the LA Creel survey design has been certified, it is eligible for federal funding to support ongoing improvements and implementation. Use of LA Creel catch statistics in stock assessments and management actions, requires their conversion into a “common currency” that makes them comparable to historical MRIP estimates. Implementation of such a conversion requires development of peer-reviewed scientifically valid methods.

LA Creel is one of several Gulf of Mexico surveys that has been developed by the states with technical support from MRIP. Survey designs to supplement MRIP catch and effort estimates for red snapper are currently under review for certification in Alabama and Mississippi. Additionally, Florida has developed a supplemental reef fish survey design that will be peer reviewed in February 2018.

The process of supporting the development and certification of new survey designs demonstrates MRIP’s commitment to working with our state and regional partners to meet their unique data needs and advance new methods and technologies. This is critical to improving recreational fishing data collection efforts and ensuring fishing opportunities for future generations. The LA Creel program is intended to implement an approach to address Louisiana-specific needs such as monitoring of harvest by drainage basin, which is critical to understanding fisheries in the rapidly changing coastal landscape of the state.

LDWF installs the first artificial reefs in Vernon Lake

Release Date: 12/28/2017

LDWF installs the first artificial reefs in Vernon Lake

Baton Rouge – LDWF Inland Fisheries biologists deployed two new freshwater artificial reefs into Vernon Lake on Thursday, December 14, 2017.

The reefs, composed of PVC pipe donated by the Entergy office in Fort Polk, are held in place by concrete and will provide additional habitat for juvenile fish and offer anglers increased fishing opportunity on Vernon Lake. Inland Biologists will conduct surveys this summer to quantify fish utilizing the reefs.  This installation raises the LDWF freshwater artificial reef total to 70 reefs on 15 waterbodies across the state. 

Material for this project was secured through a partnership with Entergy Louisiana and the Vernon Parish Game and Fish Commission.  Volunteers included LDWF staff from 2 district offices, Vernon Parish Game and Fish Commission members, and Vernon Parish Police Jury employees. 

Location of the new reefs are listed below.

Vernon Lake Spillway Reef 1                  Vernon Lake Spillway Reef 2

N   31.18269                                             N   31.18497

W -93.35313                                              W -93.35339

For questions regarding the Vernon Lake artificial reefs , please contact LDWF Inland Fisheries Biologist Manager, Sean Kinney at (337) 491-2575 or skinney@wlf.la.gov

For more information about the locations of our artificial reefs across the state, check out our ‘Outdoor Explorer Map Tool’ at: http://arcg.is/0GuDKb.

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.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

LDWF to Close Oyster Harvest in Sister Lake

Release Date: 12/19/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close oyster harvest in the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation (POSR) in Terrebonne Parish at one-half hour after sunset on Friday, December 22, 2017.

Recent harvest pressure has depleted the limited supply of oyster resources in this public oyster area. Protection of the remaining oyster resources is in the long-term best interest of the oyster populations in these areas.

To view a map of the current oyster closure areas visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/oyster-season

The Commission authorized the Secretary of LDWF to take emergency action to close areas on an as-needed basis, based on biological data or if enforcement problems are encountered. The Secretary was also authorized to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open areas if substantial oyster resources are located.

Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

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.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

 
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