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LDWF, State Officials Partner with New Orleans Hornets, Launch Louisiana Seafood Market

Release Date: 11/05/2010

Three-year partnership will fund concessions stand selling only La. seafood, helps promote fishing industry.

(Baton Rouge, La.) November 5, 2010 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) joined officials with the Office of Community Development (OCD), and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) today to announce a partnership with the New Orleans Hornets to launch a Louisiana-only seafood concessions stand. Located inside the New Orleans Arena, the Louisiana Seafood Market will promote the state’s seafood industry while serving safe, quality commercial seafood caught in Louisiana waters.

“Louisiana’s fishing industry has battled back from four major hurricanes over the last five years only to face the challenges created by the BP oil spill,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fisheries Randy Pausina. “We have seen a dramatic drop in the value of our seafood this year, and we have to address the industry’s issues now. This partnership is an exciting opportunity to support our fishermen and to help reinforce that Louisiana seafood is safe and healthy. We’re grateful to the Hornets for their incredible support of the industry, and I challenge everyone who comes to the arena to stop by the market for some of the safest, most delicious commercial seafood in the country.”

“The entire Hornets family is proud to support the Louisiana seafood industry and provide our fans at the arena with the freshest seafood straight out of the Gulf,” said Hornets President Hugh Weber.  “Through our partnership with the Office of Community Development, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, we are able to send the message to our fans and the entire community that Louisiana seafood is safe, fresh and back open for business.  The new Louisiana Seafood Market concession stand is just another way we can provide our fans with options for top-notch local cuisine as they cheer on the Hornets at the Hive.”

The Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit worked closely with LDWF and LSPMB to secure $300,000 in funding from a Community Block Development Grant for the Louisiana-only seafood concessions stand to support the state’s fishing industry. In addition to the three-year agreement for the concessions stand, the Hornets have also committed to working with the state to promote Louisiana seafood with their fans, and in cities across the country as they travel to away games.

“This oil spill could not have come at a worse time for our fishing industry, which was still struggling to recover from the affects of four hurricanes in three years. It’s crucial that we continue to help rebuild and restore our fishing industry and communities by reinforcing the safety and quality of Louisiana seafood, both with our own residents and with those who join us at the arena from out of state,” said Office of Community Development Director Robin Keegan. “I’m incredibly grateful to President Weber and his staff for working to make this concession stand happen. It takes Louisiana companies purchasing Louisiana seafood to help rebuild our industry and our brand – the Hornets are playing an integral part in that today.”

“The Louisiana seafood stand at the New Orleans arena offers attendees a true taste of Louisiana. Whether it is a fan attending a Hornets game, or watching a performance by a world-renowned entertainer, the experience will be complete with flavorful dishes created from fresh Louisiana seafood,” said LSPMB Assistant Executive Director Rene LeBreton.

In addition to supporting the seafood industry through the Louisiana Seafood Market concession stand, the Hornets have teamed up with Chevron and several other corporate partners including Rouses Supermarkets, CVS pharmacies and Take 5 Oil Change  to launch the “Believe in Blue” campaign which will serve to raise awareness and funds for the residents of communities affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, restore local coastal wetlands and help return the gulf’s water back to its original color—blue.  In the last month alone, the team has raised over $40,000 for Gulf Coast restoration.

All proceeds raised through the entire “Believe in Blue” campaign will benefit the Friends of the Fisherman fund, the officially endorsed fund of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board created to help Louisiana's fishermen, America’s WETLAND Foundation, established to preserve Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans.  All funds will be collected and distributed through the United Way.

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 Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-303

Bridge City Man Sentenced On Felony Conviction

Release Date: 11/04/2010

A Bridge City man pled guilty to a felony conviction in Jefferson Parish on Nov. 4 for stealing a boat.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested Michael Joseph Higgerson, 25, on April 25, 2010 after being found to be in possession of a boat that was reported stolen in Orleans Parish in late 2009.

24th Judicial Court Judge Erin Shirer Kovach sentenced Higgerson to five years imprisonment at hard labor with three suspended, three years of active probation and 40 hours of community service.

Agents initially stopped Higginson for a standard safe boating check when they found him to be in possession of the reportedly stolen 19 foot Chaparral boat with motor. Agents seized the boat and trailer and returned them to the legal owner.

The prosecuting Assisting District Attorney for the case was Matthew Clausen.

The investigating agents in the case were Sgt. Jason Russo and Cadet Terrance Hicks of LDWF. Detective Nick Vega of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office assisted the agents with the forensic evidence in the case.

For more information, contact Captain Stephen McManus at 504-284-2023 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.

2010-E64

L.D.W.F. Enforcement Agent Recognized at November Commission Meeting

Release Date: 11/04/2010

Winton Vidrine, Ryan Brasher and Tom Montgomery

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent was honored at the Nov. 4 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting held in Baton Rouge.

Shikar-Safari Club International representative Tom Montgomery was at the commission meeting to present this year's Shikar-Safari Club International Officer of the Year award for Louisiana to LDWF Sgt. Ryan Brasher, 38, of Minden.

The Shikar-Safari award recognizes an agent from each state for outstanding efforts in conservation law enforcement.  Sgt. Brasher, an LDWF agent for eight years who patrols the Claiborne Parish area, received the award partly for his teamwork with other law enforcement units on joint cases, diligent work on turkey baiting cases and leadership roles as a field-training officer.

"Sgt. Brasher has always demonstrated a strong work ethic and professionalism since he came to the department and now his leadership roles are rising to the surface," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "He does a great job of doing whatever is asked of him and always carries a high case load."

Sgt. Brasher was recently selected as the LDWF Statewide Agent of the Year in March.  He is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps where he attained the rank of Corporal.

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

2010-301
 

Kansas Man Wins 2011 Louisiana Duck Stamp Competition

Release Date: 11/04/2010

2011 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp

A Kansas man took home first place in the 2011 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Competition sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The contest determines the image to be used on the LDWF hunting permit commonly known as the Louisiana Duck Stamp.

Wes Dewey unanimously beat out 14 other competitors and was recognized at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s Nov. 4 meeting as the 2011 winner.  Dale Pousson of Egan, LA, the 2003 winner, came in second place, and third place went to 1994 winner Don Edwards from Keithville, LA.  Last year, Richard Clifton of Delaware won the contest.

Dewey has previously won the 1990 Kansas Duck Stamp, was the 2007 Kansas Ducks Unlimited sponsored print artist and has placed eighth two different years in the Federal Duck Stamp contest.  Dewey's painting of a male and female wood duck perched on a weathered stump will be featured on the 2011 Louisiana Duck Stamp.

"The department was happy with the quantity of entries this year, but we were blown away by the quality of the paintings," said LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader Larry Reynolds.  "Dewey's painting showed exceptional attention to detail with the features and scale of wood ducks and will make a fine duck stamp."  

For this years' competition, LDWF let the artist choose any migratory waterfowl species known to winter in Louisiana except for pintails, which were featured on this year's duck stamp.

The Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program was established in 1988 by the Louisiana Legislature to generate revenue for conservation and enhancement of state wetlands and other worthy programs that benefit Louisiana’s ducks and geese.  This program has generated over $11 million for wetland conservation in Louisiana since 1989, with over $400,000 from last year’s stamp sales alone.

The 2011 stamp, featuring Dewey's work, is expected to go on sale June 1, 2011.  The artist will retain the original artwork and will have reproduction rights to the image for prints and other commodities after LDWF has used the image to produce the stamps.

Judges for the competition were Luke Laborde, R.C. Davis, Dean Bergeaux, Jerry Bowers, and Dr. Clint Jeske.  Laborde is a PhD student at LSU on a Delta Waterfowl scholarship doing research on human dimensions in waterfowl management; Davis, a professional artist in Amite, is a past winner of the Louisiana Duck Stamp contest for the 1998-99 stamp design; Bergeaux is a pharmacist in Crowley and current State Chairman for Ducks Unlimited; Bowers is a duck stamp collector and owns Stitch and Frame gallery and frame shop in Lafayette; and Dr. Jeske is a research ecologist specializing in wetland birds for the USGS National Wetland Research Center in Lafayette as well as a decoy carver.

For more information, contact Larry Reynolds at lreynolds@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-0456.

2010-300

EDITORS: Contact Thomas Gresham at tgresham@wlf.la.gov to request a high-resolution copy of the 2011 duck stamp.

L.D.W.F. Agents Rescue Missing Father And Two Sons

Release Date: 11/03/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents rescued a missing father and his two sons on Nov. 3 in Union Parish.

Agents received a call from the Union Parish Sheriff's Office shortly after 9 p.m. on Nov. 2 about Timothy Thomas, 36, and his two sons, age 7 and 10, who hadn't returned from a deer-scouting trip in D'arbonne National Refuge.  The man and his two sons left the Holland's Bluff boat launch around 2 p.m. on Nov. 2.

LDWF agents found Thomas and his two sons shortly after midnight on Nov. 3 on the bank of Bayou D'arbonne about five miles from the Holland's Bluff boat launch.

Agents transported the family back to the Joe Bob's landing where medical personnel were already standing by.  Everyone was treated for mild dehydration and hypothermia and released.

"These agents performed a search and rescue mission under very adverse conditions and successfully returned a man and his two sons to safety.  The rainy, foggy and nighttime conditions made it very difficult to traverse the waterway and to find the lost party, but these agents were able to persevere," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "This is a very fortunate event as now the man and his two sons can reunite with the rest of the family and move forward with a good story to tell."

Agents participating in the search and rescue were Sgt. Lane Kincaid, Agent Scott Jeansonne, Agent Mike Jones, Agents Scott Bullitt, Lt. Rick Owens, Sgt. Duane Taylor, Agent David Harrell and Scott Bullitt.  The Union Parish Sheriff's Office also participated in the search.

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

2010-299

Agenda for November Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Release Date: 10/28/2010

The next regular Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 4, 2010, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of Minutes of October 7, 2010
  3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
  4. To receive and hear Presentation of Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year Award
  5. To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/October
  6. To receive and Announce Winners of the Duck Stamp Competition
  7. To receive and hear Presentation of Thistlethwaite WMA Lease by Landowners
  8. To receive and hear Overview of Mississippi Alluvial Valley WMAs
  9. To receive and consider Declaration of Emergency and Notice of Intent on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill
  10. To receive and hear Request by Oyster Task Force to Discuss 2010 Oyster Season East of Mississippi River and Hackberry Bay
  11. Set March 2011 Meeting Date
  12. Receive Public Comments
  13. Adjournment

2010-297

L.D.W.F. to Close Greater Amberjack Commercial Fishery at 12:01 a.m., October 28

Release Date: 10/27/2010

NOAA predicts quota will be met; fishery will reopen January 1, 2011.

Baton Rouge (October 27, 2010) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close the greater amberjack commercial fishery in state waters at 12:01 a.m., October 28. LDWF Secretary Robert Barham signed the closure, which coincides with the federal closure issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA predicts that the 2010 commercial quota will be met by October 28, and, as a result, has requested that the state match the closure in federal waters.

After the closure, all commercial harvest, possession, purchase, barter, trade, sale or attempt to purchase, barter, trade or sell greater amberjack is prohibited until 12:01 a.m., January 1, 2011, the date set for the opening of the 2011 season. The prohibition on the sale or purchase of greater amberjack during the closure does not apply to those that were harvested, landed ashore and sold prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor provided appropriate records in accordance with R.S. 56:306.5 and 56:306.6 are properly maintained.

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/pages/Baton-Rouge-LA/Louisiana-Department-of-Wildlife-a... or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, please contact Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-296
 

Large Orange Mass in Gulf Algal Bloom, Not Oil, Conclude LSU Scientists

Release Date: 10/27/2010

Independent tests indicate orange mass off Tiger Pass not related to spill; final results still pending.

Tests conducted at the Louisiana State University (LSU) departments of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, and Environmental Sciences concluded today that a large mass of orange substance near Tiger Pass in the Mississippi Delta is an algal bloom, not oil. Scientists tested samples collected over the weekend by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) staff for any accumulation of oil among the phytoplankton.

According to analysis by Dr. Sibel Bargu, Assistant Professor at LSU’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences and a specialist in algae, and by the laboratory of Dr. Ed Overton, Professor Emeritus for the Department of Environmental Sciences, the large orange mass identified and sampled by LDWF biologists in the area near Tiger Pass is an algal bloom.

“Large algal blooms are common occurrences in the Gulf of Mexico when we experience warm weather, particularly from May to November,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “This summer, we have all been acutely aware of possible impacts from the oil spill, which make us take a closer look at events like this one that might normally go unnoticed in our state waters. That is why we pursued testing the algal bloom to ensure that it was phytoplankton and not oil from the BP oil spill.”

Dr. Overton’s lab, which specializes in petroleum analysis, did conclude that there were some extremely low levels of hydrocarbons present in the samples – a finding that is consistent with normal water samples in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Hydrocarbons are common in samples taken at the surface, as the algal bloom samples were, and typically accumulate over time from natural oil seeps, waterway discharges, boat byproducts and various forms of industrial runoff.

Early reports about an orange substance in federal waters southwest of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River were made to the U.S. Coast Guard last week, and they were the first to investigate the claims that the mass was oil. Once the substance was reported within state waters, LDWF biologists investigated the algal bloom and collected samples for independent testing at LSU. The conclusions from professors Overton and Bargu are consistent with the assumption made by the Coast Guard that the mass was a large algal bloom rather than oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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/pages/Baton-Rouge-LA/Louisiana-Department-of-Wildlife-a... or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, please contact Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-295

FIVE NEW ORLEANS AREA MEN CITED FOR FEDERAL FISH VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 10/26/2010

2010-E62

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited five New Orleans area fishermen for allegedly failing to keep saltwater finfish intact on Oct. 22.

The LDWF agents were on a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol for the National Marine Fisheries Service when they stopped the men, who were fishing off the coast of Plaquemines Parish in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico known as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

During a fisheries compliance inspection, agents found Minh Chi Nguyen, 36, Dinh M. Trinh, 36, and Do Thanh Tran, 39, all of New Orleans, and Than Hung Tran, 46, and Quang Huy Nguyen, 43, of Gretna to be in joint possession of approximately nine and a half pounds of fresh fish fillets.

Louisiana law states that any saltwater finfish taken recreationally must be kept intact with head and caudal fin attached. Special exceptions apply to garfish, swordfish and tuna. For the purpose of consumption at sea, a person may possess no more than two pounds of fish fillets while on the water as long as their vessel is equipped to cook such finfish and that they do not exceed applicable bag limits.

The fish fillets were seized and are being sent to the National Marine Fisheries Laboratory for analysis and species identification.

Failing to keep saltwater finfish intact carries a fine between $250 and $500, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court costs.

The agents involved in the case were Sgt. Jason Russo, Senior Agent Tim Fox and Senior Agent Mike Garrity.

For more information, contact Capt. Stephen McManus at 504-284-2023 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.
 

L.D.W.F. INVESTIGATION LEADS TO ILLEGAL SELLING OF SEAFOOD AND DRUG VIOLATION ARREST

Release Date: 10/26/2010

2010-E61

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division Agents arrested a convicted felon for alleged firearm, seafood and drug violations on Oct. 19 in Vermilion Parish.

Agents arrested Ralph E. Tucker 48, of Kaplan, for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute and selling recreationally caught fish. Lester J. Suire, 59, of Kaplan was also cited for selling recreationally caught fish on Oct. 20 in connection with Tucker.

LDWF agents coordinated a 12-hour long investigation involving marked and unmarked units, uniformed and plainclothes agents from Calcasieu, Cameron, Vermilion and Acadia parishes.

Agents observed Tucker and Suire cast netting for shrimp on the Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge (SWR) in Cameron Parish. Agents then followed Tucker and Suire leaving the refuge with shrimp caught on the refuge and observed the men deheading and packaging the shrimp in plastic bags at a residence.

Agents observed Tucker and Suire loading the shrimp back in their vehicle where they attempted to sell the shrimp at various locations in Vermilion Parish.
Agents then followed the men to Acadia parish where they were observed selling the shrimp to an individual.

After documenting the illegal activity, agents apprehended Tucker at his residence and found numerous assorted narcotic pills in his vehicle along with a firearm in the residence. Agents along with Kaplan Police officers arrested Tucker and transported him to the Kaplan Police Department.

Agents located Suire on Oct. 20 and issued him a citation for his illegal participation on Oct. 19.

Seized in connection with the violations were a 20-foot Cajun Mastercraft boat with trailer, an AR7 .22 caliber rifle and ammunition, numerous assorted narcotic pills, three castnets and nine quart sized plastic bags of shrimp tails. All evidence will be held and processed according to policy pending the court proceedings.

The penalty for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries imprisonment at hard labor between 10 and 15 years without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000.

The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute schedule II narcotics brings imprisonment at hard labor between two and 30 years and up to $50,000 in fines. The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute schedule III narcotics carries imprisonment at hard labor for up to 10 years and up to $15,000 in fines. The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute schedule IV narcotics carries jail time between five to 30 years and up to $50,000 in fines.

Selling fish caught recreationally carries a fine between $400-$950, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court cost. Not abiding by rules and regulations on a WMA or Wildlife Refuge carries a fine from $100-$350, or jail time up to 60 days, or both plus court cost.

LDWF agents participating in the case were Capt. Jubal Marceaux, Sgt. Keith Delahoussaye, Senior Agents Justin Sonnier, Carl Pickett, Jonathan Verret, and Jason Stagg. Other law enforcement personnel who participated were Kelly Hardy with Louisiana Probation and Parole, and Lt. Barry Krawchuk, Sgt. Irvin Cates, and Patrolman Shawn Boneski with the Kaplan Police Department. United States Drug Enforcement Administration agents from the Lafayette Post of Duty also assisted LDWF agents.

For more information contact Captain Jubal Marceaux at 337-491-2580 or jmarceaux@wlf.la.gov. 

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