Fishing

LDWF Reminds Oyster Harvesters New Gear Requirements are in Effect

Release Date: 11/16/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to remind oyster harvesters fishing in the public oyster areas of Louisiana that the following gear requirements are currently in effect.
 
The New Gear Restrictions (Act 133) limited the size and use of scrapers on public oyster areas (public oyster seed grounds, public oyster seed reservations, Calcasieu Lake public oyster area):

  • Scrapers must not be more than 54 inches in width (Calcasieu Lake maximum scraper width is 36 inches) measured along the tooth bar.
  • Scrapers cannot weigh more than 175 pounds. 
  • Diving boards, hydrofoils, and any other equipment intended to create downward pressure are now illegal.
  • Scraper teeth cannot be longer than 5 inches, with a minimum of 2 1/4 inch spacing from the center of one tooth to the next. A tooth shall not exceed 11/16 of an inch in diameter.
  • No more than two scrapers can be in use on any one vessel on public oyster grounds and reservations, although only one is allowed per vessel in the Calcasieu Lake public oyster area.
  • An oyster scraper bag must be single mesh with a minimum mesh size of 3 inches stretched.

These laws were passed during the 2016 legislative session and went into effect on August 1, 2016.
 
LDWF would also like to remind oyster harvesters of the new training requirement for the 2017 license year. All oyster harvesters will be required to complete an education program before applying for their 2017 oyster harvester license. This program consists of an in-depth training video, which all harvesters must watch in full and answer the accompanying questions with a minimum score of 80 percent. Harvesters will be required to take this program every three years. The required course training material can be found at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oyster-harvester-training-videos.

LDWF Commercial Fishing Licenses Available in Bourg

Release Date: 11/15/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will offer new commercial fishing licenses and renewals in Bourg, La. from November 29 through December 1 at the Bourg office located at 468 Texas Gulf Road. Licenses will be available for purchase from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
 
Commercial fishermen are reminded that acceptable forms of payment will include personal checks, money orders and cash. To avoid processing delays, those purchasing license are asked to bring their license renewal notices with them.
 
First-time applicants can apply by mail or in-person. Renewals can be completed online atwww.wlf.la.gov. When applying in person, you must provide the following:

  • Resident applicants must provide proof of residency such as a Louisiana driver’s license (held continuously for 12 months), voter’s registration, vehicle registration and state income tax. 
  • Non-resident applicants must provide proof of residency from their domiciliary state, such as a driver’s license, voter’s registration, vehicle registration and state income tax.
  • Applicants applying for a license in a business name must provide documentation showing proof of valid federal tax ID# assigned to business name and proof of authorized signature or an occupational license will be required.

For commercial license inquiries, contact (225) 765-2898.

Oyster Season to Open in Portion of the Public Oyster Seed Grounds East of the Mississippi River and North of the MRGO

Release Date: 11/10/2016

Oyster Season to Open in Portion of the Public Oyster Seed Grounds East of the Mississippi River and North of the MRGO
Oyster Season to Open in Portion of the Public Oyster Seed Grounds East of the Mississippi River and North of the MRGO
Oyster Season to Open in Portion of the Public Oyster Seed Grounds East of the Mississippi River and North of the MRGO

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will open a portion of the public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) within Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) Harvest Areas 3 and 4 at one half-hour before sunrise on November 14, 2016. Information collected by LDWF biologists indicates harvestable seed and market oyster resources are present within a portion of this area.  
 
The Lake Borgne/Mississippi Sound area, as defined below, will remain closed until further notice due to extensive oyster mortality observed throughout the area and to protect a recent spat set. Closure of this area is expected to increase the likelihood of spat survival and facilitate resource recovery. The protection of remaining oyster resource is in the long-term best interest of the public oyster seed grounds in this area.
 
The Lake Borgne/Mississippi Sound area, which is generally that area of LDHH Harvest Areas 1 and 2, is defined as the area north and west of the following coordinates:

  • 30 degrees 04 minutes 44.58 seconds north
    89 degrees 29 minutes 00.30 seconds west
  • 30 degrees 03 minutes 08.43 seconds north
    89 degrees 25 minutes 56.44 seconds west
  • 30 degrees 02 minutes 59.01 seconds north
    89 degrees 24 minutes 08.00 seconds west
  • 30 degrees 03 minutes 14.99 seconds north
    89 degrees 21 minutes 17.94 seconds west
  • 30 degrees 04 minutes 21.28 seconds north
    89 degrees 18 minutes 22.58 seconds west
  • 30 degrees 05 minutes 33.01 seconds north
    89 degrees 18 minutes 09.22 seconds west
  • 30 degrees 09 minutes 25.35 seconds north
    89 degrees 11 minutes 07.45 seconds west
  • 30 degrees 11 minutes 00.56 seconds north
    89 degrees 07 minutes 48.31 seconds west

Drum Bay is designated as a sacking-only area and restricted to harvest for market sales only, and is that portion of the public grounds west of a line running generally north/south of a point at 29 degrees 55 minutes 39.50 seconds N latitude, 89 degrees 14 minutes 18.57 seconds W longitude to a point at 29 degrees 52 minutes 33.25 seconds N latitude, 89 degrees 14 minutes and 11.95 seconds W longitude.
 
As a reminder, additional public oyster areas that will also be opening on November 14, 2016, as originally scheduled include the Hackberry Bay Public Oyster Seed Reservation in the Barataria basin and the American Bay/Bay Long Sacking-only Area east of the Mississippi River. Hackberry Bay shall close to harvest of seed oysters for bedding purposes at one half-hour after sunset on Monday, November 14, 2016, but will remain open for the harvest of oysters for market sales until further notice.
 
Closure dates are determined by LDWF Secretary Melancon on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open public 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 in advance, unless such closure is ordered by LDHH for public health concerns.

Important Legislative Changes to Oyster Harvest Regulations

Release Date: 11/07/2016

Several bills enacted during the spring 2016 Louisiana legislative session have a significant impact on state oyster harvesters. In response, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has put together a summary of these important changes to the 2017 commercial oyster regulations so harvesters can prepare.
 
Most notable is the Oyster Harvester License Training Requirements (Act 276), which will require ALL oyster harvesters to complete an education program before applying for their 2017 oyster harvester license. This program consists of an in-depth training video, which all harvesters must watch in full and answer the accompanying questions with a minimum score of 80 percent. Harvesters will be required to take this program every three years. The required course training material can be found at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oyster-harvester-training-videos.
 
“This oyster harvester education program is actually a mandate from the National Shellfish Sanitation Program - a federal/state cooperative program for the sanitary control of shellfish produced and sold for human consumption,” said Darren Bourgeois, Fisheries Extension, Educational Program Manager, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries. “The video, produced by our Louisiana Fisheries Forward initiative, meets NSSP requirements by presenting best practices in harvest, handling and transportation practices.”
 
Fishermen harvesting on natural reefs and public harvest areas should be aware of two new changes in the law. The New Gear Restrictions (Act 133) changed the name of certain gear ‘dredges,’ which should now be called ‘scrapers.’ The act also limited the size and use of scrapers on public harvest areas and Public Oyster Seed Grounds: scrapers must not be more than 54 inches in width (Calcasieu Lake maximum scraper width is 36 inches) measured along the tooth bar; cannot weigh more than 175 pounds; and diving boards, hydrofoils, or any other equipment intended to create downward pressure is now illegal (these changes apply to all public harvest areas and POSGs, including those in Calcasieu Lake). Scraper teeth cannot be longer than 5 inches, with a minimum of 2¼ inch spacing from the center of one tooth to the next. A tooth shall not exceed 11/16 of an inch in diameter. No more than two scrapers can be in use on any one vessel on public oyster grounds. An oyster scraper bag must be single mesh with a minimum mesh size of 3 inches stretched.
 
Changes to the POSG Permit (Act 291) bring about a fee increase, which will fund the Public Oyster Seed Ground Development Account. The permit cost for a single scraper vessel will be $250 for a resident and $1,000 for a non-resident. A double scraper vessel will be $500 for a resident and $2,000 for a non-resident. New POSG vessel permit applications will be accepted once a professionalism program is developed; this professionalism program should be complete by 2018.
 
New laws are also in place regarding leasing practices and the oyster lease moratorium. Leasing Practices for Oyster Harvest (Act 570) have changed, such that water bottoms claimed by both the state and a private claimant may now be leased for oyster harvest when LDWF and the private claimant agree to do so. This agreement does not indicate or determine ownership, and the lease is only in effect until a court rules on the ownership claim. This law recognizes those oyster leases issued by private claimants on dual claimed water bottoms in effect and properly recorded as of February 1, 2016, as valid, such that harvest off of those state claimed water bottoms by the private lessee is legal.
 
The Legislature has amended the oyster leasing application process, provided for subordination between new oyster leases and existing coastal activities, and established preferential rights for Lifting the Moratorium on Oyster Leases in phases (Act 595):
 
Phase 1: Certain identified oyster lessees who did not renew leases due to predicted coastal restoration activities get first priority in these areas.
 
Phase 2: Lease expansion. Lessees may take up space between shore and lease or lease and lease up to 500′ (CPRA can require a shoreline buffer).
 
Phase 3: Holders of privately issued oyster leases on water bottoms who are claimed by the state and a private claimant get first priority in these areas.
 
Phase 4: Open lottery – any applicant eligible to hold an oyster lease may submit a single lottery entry and will be randomly assigned an appointment priority to apply for a single lease. (Phase 4 not to be immediately implemented) .
 
Phase 5: Second open lottery if deemed necessary.
 
After Phase 5, the moratorium on oyster leasing will be fully lifted and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
 
If you have general questions concerning oyster management please contact Steven Beck at (225) 765-2956 or sbeck@wlf.la.gov.
 
If you have questions concerning the oyster harvester education program please contact Darren Bourgeois at (504) 284-2033 at dbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or Richard Williams at (225) 765-0121or rrwilliams@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Announces Commercial Fishing License Sale Locations and Dates

Release Date: 11/07/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will offer new commercial fishing licenses and renewals from the following locations:
 
Bourg Office
468 Texas Gulf Road
Bourg, La.
November 29 - December 1
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
 
Lake Charles Office
1213 North Lakeshore Drive
Lake Charles, La.
December 6 - 8
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
 
St. Bernard Parish Government Building
8201 West Judge Perez Drive
Chalmette, La.
December 13 - 15
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
 
Commercial fishermen are reminded that acceptable forms of payment will include personal checks, cashier's checks, money orders and cash.  To avoid processing delays, those purchasing licenses are asked to bring their license renewal notices with them. 
 
 First-time applicants can apply by mail or in-person.  Renewals can be completed online at www.wlf.la.gov. When applying in person you must provide the following:
 

  • Resident applicants must provide proof of residency such as a Louisiana driver’s license, (held continuously for 12 months) voter’s registration, vehicle registration and state income tax.
  • Non-residents applicants must provide proof of residency from their domiciliary state, such as driver's license, voter's registration, vehicle registration and state income tax.
  • Applicants applying for a license in a business name must provide documentation showing proof of valid federal tax ID# assigned to business name and proof of authorized signature, or an occupational license will be required.

For commercial licenses inquiries, contact (225) 765-2898.

Oyster Task Force to Meet

Release Date: 11/04/2016

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting

John Tesvich, Chairman

Monday, November 7, 2016, 1 p.m.

2021 Lakeshore Dr., STE 210

New Orleans, LA 70122

AGENDA

I.Roll call and introduction of guests

II.Approval of September 27, 2016 Meeting Minutes and November 7, 2016 Agenda

III.Treasury Report

A.      Oyster Tag Sales

B.      LOTF Financial Report

IV.Committee Reports

A.      Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee  (Mitch Jurisich)

B.      Enforcement (Captain Chad Hebert)

C.      Legislative (Jakov Jurisic)

D.     Research (Earl Melancon)

E.      Coastal Restoration (Dan Coulon)

F.      Marketing (LDWF)

G.      Health (Lance Broussard)

H.     Sustainability (LDWF)

I.        Professionalism (LDWF)

J.      Aquaculture (John Supan)

V.New Business

A.To Review and Consider Recommendations for Proposed Oyster Lease Rules- Cole Garrett

B.To Consider Funding to Continue Summer Dermo Sampling- Thomas Soniat

VI.Public Comment

VII.Set Next Meeting

VIII.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 at  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/406811984110665986

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.

Oyster Task Force Aquaculture Subcommittee to Meet

Release Date: 11/04/2016

Oyster Task Force Aquaculture Committee Meeting

Monday, November 7, 2016

UNO 3rd Floor Conference Room

10am-Noon

 

Agenda

1.     Review Alternative Oyster Culture (AOC) on private lands

a.     Dual claim?

b.     Permitting

i.     Mariculture permit

1.     Exempting oysters via changing legislative definition of “fish”

2.     AOC on existing oyster leases

a.     Suitability map

 i.     Review creation

ii.     Modification

 iii.     Elimination?

1.     Leave siting to CUP process

3.     Marine Enterprise Zones (aka Aquaculture Park)

a.     Review of Grand Isle Oyster Farming Zone

b.     Expansion to other areas and parishes

 

 i.     Modify existing legislation or new legislation?

Oyster Task Force Coastal Restoration Subcommittee to Meet

Release Date: 11/04/2016

Coastal Restoration Subcommittee

Monday, November 7, 2016, 10:30 A.M.

UNO Advanced Technology Center

2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210

New Orleans 70122

 

AGENDA

 

I.               Call to Order

II.             To hear a presentation on developing an oyster fishery and restoration strategy east of the Miss. River considering the changing basin conditions- Dr. john Lopez

III.           Public Comment

IV.           Set next meeting

V.             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 at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6193189837396556801

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.

 

LDWF and CPRA announce the reopening of Elmer’s Island Refuge

Release Date: 11/03/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) announced the completion of the Caminada Beach and Dune Restoration Project and the reopening of Elmer’s Island Refuge for October 31st. 

“Elmer’s Island has never looked better”, said LDWF Secretary, Charlie Melancon. “This is a great example of a project that is able to enhance habitat for wildlife and provide opportunities for recreational users while offering additional coastal protection to the area”.

CPRA began the restoration project on the western end of the Caminada headlands in 2012 and restored approximately 300 acres and 6 miles of beach and dune habitat. The eastern half of the project, which includes Elmer’s Island, began in 2013, and restored approximately 500 acres and 7 miles of beach and dune.

Designated as Increment 1 and Increment II, funding sources included state surplus, CIAP funds and funds resulting from the settlement of federal criminal charges against BP and Transocean, through NFWF.

In total, the two projects restored 13 miles of Louisiana’s barrier shoreline and represent one of the largest restoration projects ever constructed by the CPRA with a combined project investment of over $200 million.

“This is the largest single coastal and habitat restoration project in CPRA history,” said CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberry. “CPRA’s work to restore coastal beaches, dunes, and habitats along barrier islands, is vital to achieve a productive and resilient working coast, and a robust barricade to attenuate storm surge and flooding.”

Elmer’s Island is open 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.  The public is reminded to pack out all trash and litter from the refuge. For more details on regulations regarding Elmer’s Island, please visit the LDWF website:  http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/elmers-island

 

For further information, contact Rene LeBreton at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at rlebreton@wlf.la.gov, 504-286-8745, or Chuck Perrodin CPRA Public Information Director at (225) 342-7615.

Melancon pledges LDWF support to “Restore the Earth’s” restoration effort

Release Date: 10/31/2016

 

News Release

 

For Immediate Release

October 28, 2016

 

Contact: Ed Pratt
LDWF Press Secretary
225-765-3970

epratt@wlf.la.gov

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LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon chats with P.J. Marshall, co-founder and executive director of Restore the Earth Foundation.

Amended - Melancon pledges LDWF support to “Restore the Earth’s” restoration effort

Oct. 28, 2016 - “You have our total support,” Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon pledged Thursday to a national organization attempting to restore some 1 million acres of land along the Lower Mississippi River Basin, or as Restore the Earth Foundations calls it, “North America’s Amazon”.

Melancon was a guest speaker at the Restore the Earth Foundation’s kick off activity – the planting of trees at Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area in Terrebonne Parish. Volunteers from several public and private businesses and groups participated in the effort that will eventually reach 4,000 acres planted along the coast.

“This is a great public and private partnership for a great cause,” Melancon said. He told REF officials that Louisiana will “work alongside you as long as it takes to get this done.”

The tree-planting ceremony kicked off Restore the Earth’s long range plan to restore Mississippi River Basin land which it calls North America’s Amazon. The commitment in Louisiana is part of a larger 15-year commitment to restore 1 million acres in the Lower Mississippi River Basin.

P.J. Marshall, co-founder and executive director of REF said, "To address the significant coastal wetland loss here in Louisiana, and the bigger issues of environmental degredation in the United States and around the world, we need big picture goals and diverse, collaborative partnerships which bring together visionaries from government, non-profits and companies to restore the Earth!   Its projects like these where collaboration becomes impact.”

REF says if its goals are met, the result will be: the reduction of America’s carbon foot print by 2 percent, the reversal of the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico by 12 percent; improved water quality; mitigation contaminates reaching the Gulf of Mexico; and the creation of jobs.

REFs has created partnerships with the Entergy, Shell Oil, CITGO, VMware, U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and others.

Dozens of volunteers from REF’s partners participated in Thursday’s tree planting Groundbreaking ceremony, planting over 600 trees.

REF, based in Ithaca, NY, with offices in New Orleans, was founded in 2010 and set its mission to restore the Earth’s essential forest ecosystems.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

 

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