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Anglers Aren't the Only Big Winners at the Louisiana Saltwater Series Championship

Release Date: 10/11/2010

The Louisiana Saltwater Series, hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, closed this weekend at Delta Marina in Empire with some monster catches at its championship tournament.  The 2010 fishing season was a banner year for the series, to promote the conservation of Louisiana’s saltwater sport fish resources through six tag and release redfish tournaments. 

Overall weight determined the grand prize winner going to the team of Bobby Abruscato and Scott Ritter, with a winning total weight of 34.11 pounds, and their largest fish weighing 9.2 pounds.   With the win, the duo was awarded a cash prize of over $2,700.

However, this tournament series serves a much larger purpose than hashing our prize money for trophy catches.  The department hopes the tournaments will create awareness and participation in their tag and release program. 

In its inaugural year, LDWF safely tagged and released 368 redfish caught throughout the series.  The results of the tagging will aid conservation efforts for redfish in the future, helping to ensure healthy populations and a successful recreational fishing industry.

“It’s not just the tournament itself, but being able to provide fish for LDWF to tag and hopefully track,” explained participating angler Christopher Bush.  “It’s definitely a win-win situation.”

Turnout for the series was excellent, with participation averaging over 30 teams for each tournament and 22 teams qualifying for the championship.  These two-angler teams qualified for the no-entry-fee championship by fishing a minimum of three Saltwater Series tournaments.     

“In light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we were very pleased with overall participation,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “We hope that these events will again create enthusiasm for fishing in Louisiana and will unite anglers and their families in this recreational pastime.”

The 2011 Louisiana Saltwater Series hopes to continue to draw redfish anglers from the Gulf Coast, offering two –angler teams the opportunity to compete in six different tournaments, including a championship.  With low entry fees, these tournaments allow anglers to fish close to home and compete for cash prizes while simultaneously giving back to the resource through tag and release fishing.

“With the oil spill behind us, we’re excited about the possibilities for next year and anticipate the tournaments to be even larger and more successful,” said Pausina.   

Participating anglers can expect a significant increase in cash and prize payouts.  The department also plans to add a few changes to the tournament format that should make it even more exciting, including a youth division. 

The department urges interested anglers to sign up for the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program. Through this program, volunteer anglers provide information that is difficult, often impossible, and expensive to obtain by other means.   The target species for LDWF’s tagging program are red drum “redfish” and spotted seatrout “speckled trout.”  For additional information, interested anglers can contact fishtagging@ccalouisiana.com.

Information about the 2011 Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon be available at lasaltwaterseries.com.

For more information, contact Ashley Wethey at 225-765-5113 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.

*Photos and footageavailable upon request.    

 

Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to Meet Oct. 13

Release Date: 10/11/2010

The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will meet at 9 a.m. on Oct. 13 in Suite 210 of the University of New Orleans Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans.

The agenda is as follows:

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call
  3. Approval of minutes from July 21, 2010
  4. Reports
    1. Guest Presentations
      1. Trumpet Marketing
      2. NOAA-Larry Simpson and John Oliver
    2. Executive Directors Report
    3. Treasurers Report
  5. New Business
    1. Foundations Funds
    2. Social Media
    3. Research
    4. Friends of Fishermen
    5. Ready for Takeoff Coalition
    6. Oyster Task Force Budget shortfall/ interim crossover funding for administrative costs
  6. Set Next Meeting
  7. Adjourn

For more information, contact Ashley Roth at 504-286-8735 or aroth@wlf.la.gov.
 

Hunter Tips: Sharing Habitat with Bears in the Fall

Release Date: 10/08/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminds hunters that bears are actively foraging at this time of year in preparation for the winter. Louisiana black bear populations throughout the state are growing and their ranges are expanding, as noted in record numbers of trail camera photos capturing activity at deer feeders.

Hunters can still enjoy a safe hunting experience and have success harvesting game species by following a few, simple recommendations.

TO MINIMIZE ATTRACTING BEARS:

  • Plant food plots instead of distributing feeding corn, a favorite bear food item. For those hunters who prefer to use feed, it is advisable to switch to soybeans. The switch from corn to soybeans may be enough to drastically decrease the number of bears returning to a site.
  • Hang your feeder out of reach of bears. A feeder should be at least 8 feet off of the ground and 4 feet away from the tree or pole used to suspend the feeder.
  • Bears are less likely to forage for one grain at a time, as dispersed on the ground from a timed feeder. A corn pile or trough type feeder is more likely to attract bears for repeat feedings.

HOW TO HANDLE BLACK BEAR ENCOUNTERS

It is important for hunters to educate themselves about bears and bear behavior, take the proper precautions and remain aware while in the woods. Younger hunters should be coached on how to respond to a bear’s presence and provided with bear spray and taught how to use it.

  • Black bears are extremely inquisitive and will sometimes follow a hunter’s track to the deer stand. It is not uncommon for a black bear to place his front feet on the ladder and peer up into the stand in an attempt to discover what’s there. This situation can usually be resolved by standing and moving about on the stand and speaking to the bear to allow him to see and hear you. Once their curiosity is satisfied, bears will usually move on.
  • A hunter moving through thick brush will occasionally come upon a black bear nest. Females readily nest on the ground and produce cubs. This occurs during the den season (late December through April). Ground nests are most often located in slash piles, felled tree tops, blackberry thickets and thick palmetto. This type of encounter will usually cause the female to run away from her nest. The cubs will bawl loudly in protest at being abandoned, but this vocalization will bring the female back quickly as soon as you leave the area.
  • If you encounter a black bear in the woods, detour around the bear. If necessary, go back the way you came and access your intended destination from another direction.
  • If you encounter a black bear at close range, raise your hands above your head to appear larger than you are, speak in a normal voice to allow the bear to identify you as human, and back away until it is safe to turn and walk away -- DO NOT RUN.
  • The best tip for insuring hunter safety and peace of mind is to carry bear spray. It is available at some retail outlets selling camping and hunting merchandise, and via the Internet. Be sure to buy a product labeled “bear spray”; most come with a convenient belt holster.
  • If a black bear attacks, DO NOT PLAY DEAD; that is a technique used for grizzly bears. Fight back with anything available, as black bear attacks have often times been stopped when the person fought back violently.

Hunters are also reminded that feral hogs and black bears can look very similar, especially in low light conditions. It is critical to know your target before pulling the trigger. Killing a Louisiana black bear can result in fines and/or jail time, as well as hindering LDWF’s progress toward delisting the black bear.

The goal of LDWF’s black bear program is to restore bear numbers to a sustainable level that will allow a regulated legal harvest of bears in the future.

For more information, contact Maria Davidson at 225-931-3061 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Enforcement Agent Receives Keep Louisiana Beautiful Award

Release Date: 10/07/2010

LDWF Enforcement Agent Receives Keep Louisiana Beautiful Award

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent received a Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB) award at the Oct. 7 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting held in Baton Rouge.
Senior Agent Byron Cammack, 41, of Pineville, accepted the 7th annual KLB "Litter Enforcement Officer of the Year" award from KLB Executive Director Leigh Harris.  Harris thanked Cammack for his work and dedication to litter prevention.  

"This department is one of our best partners in litter prevention and enforcement," said Harris. "Our organization is trying to change attitudes towards littering and illegal dumping.  We change attitudes with education, and enforcement of litter laws is one of our best education and prevention tools."

Cammack is a five-year veteran of the Enforcement Division who works out of the LDWF Region 3 Office in Pineville and is assigned to patrol the Rapides Parish area.  This is the second time he has won the KLB award for litter enforcement.

"Keeping our woods, roadsides, swamps and waterways clean is a very important part of our everyday duties and something we don't take lightly," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. "Litter prevention and enforcement is one of the department's top priorities and littering will not be tolerated.
We appreciate these Keep Louisiana Beautiful awards which confirm another job well done by our Enforcement Division and agents."

LDWF agents issued 1,001 citations for simple, intentional and gross littering during the 2009-10 fiscal year.  The penalties for litter law violations are fines between $75 and $1,000 and up to eight hours of community service in a litter abatement work program.

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

2010-283

LDWF Proposes Revised Rules for Permitting Wildlife Rehabilitators

Release Date: 10/07/2010

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approved a notice of intent today to amend the rules governing the wildlife rehabilitation program overseen by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

Some of the NOI proposed changes include:

  • a requirement that an applicant for a wildlife rehabilitator permit (WRP) complete an LDWF-approved training course and provide proof of same prior to licensure or renewal.
  • a requirement that a licensed veterinarian determine if animals are non-releasable and should be given an educational animal designation.
  • a requirement that licensed rehabilitators keep on file, in perpetuity, a document signed by the owner of the land on which the rehabilitated animals are released.
  • a requirement that licensed rehabilitators maintain a permanent record of each animal placed in their care.

To review the full NOI document, go to http://wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Interested persons may submit comments on the proposed changes to Emile Leblanc, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, 70898-9000, prior to Dec. 2 2010.

For more information, contact Jim LaCour at 225-765-0823 or Emile Leblanc at 225-765-2344.

2010-282

LDWF Issues the 2010 Atchafalaya Basin Fishing Survey

Release Date: 10/07/2010

In an effort to better capture the requests of the fishing community of the Atchafalaya Basin, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries began mailing surveys out this week to 2,000 Louisiana resident recreational fishermen within 60 miles of the basin.  
 
This survey will collect general information about fishing practices in the Atchafalaya Basin, Henderson Lake and the Lake Verret/Grassy Lake/Lake Palourde areas.  Information will also be gathered on recommendations for current LDWF regulations in these areas.  
 
Data gathered will be compiled with biological data gather by local LDWF fisheries biologists, to assess what current regulations might be modified to reflect the wishes of the areas anglers.  Fishermen who receive the survey are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to voice their opinion on fisheries management in the Atchafalaya Basin and surrounding areas.
 
For additional information, please contact Michael Lee Buckner at 225-763-5508 or Jack Isaacs at 225-765-2605.

2010-281

Two Men Cited for Overlimit Bass on Yucutan Lake in Tensas Parish

Release Date: 10/05/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men on Oct. 1 for allegedly possessing over the legal limit of black bass on Yucatan Lake in Tensas Parish.

Agents found Ricky Jones, 57, of Chatham, and James M. Jones, 81, of St. Joseph, to be in possession of 38 black bass.  The daily limit for black bass is 10 per person.  

The two men caught their 20 black bass for the day and hid them in an ice chest in their vehicle.  The two fishermen then returned to the water and caught 18 more black bass.  Agents seized the bass and donated them to a local charity.

The penalty for over limit of black bass is a fine up to $350, or jail time up to 30 days, or both plus court costs.  A court order for restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish will also be filed with the case.

Agents involved in the case were Sgt. Larry May and Senior Agent Lee Tarver.
 

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

2010-E57

NOAA Reopens More than 5,000 Square Miles of Federal Waters Just in Time for Red Snapper Season

Release Date: 10/01/2010

Today the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the reopening of 5,628 square miles of Gulf federal waters west of the Mississippi River to commercial and recreational fishing. This reopening accompanies the start of a special recreational red snapper season announced by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) just last week. The season began today, Oct. 1, 2010, and will remain open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout Sunday, November 21. The season will then remain closed until June 1, 2011.
 
The NOAA reopening of additional federal waters today is the seventh reopening since July 22. Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are now 89 percent open. NOAA reports that no oil or sheen has been documented in the area since August 6.
 
The additional recreational red snapper season opening was requested by NOAA Regional Administrator Roy Crabtree in a letter sent a letter to LDWF Secretary Robert Barham last week to match the federal season reopening. Today’s reopening of federal waters opens up a crucial portion of the Gulf in which recreational red snapper fishing occurs. This may also help boost launches, marinas and private camps out of Grand Isle, Cocodrie and Venice, as they both provide close access to the newly opened area.
 
NOAA officials chose to reopen the season for red snapper due to the significant fishing closures issued this summer as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident.  Figures suggest the recreational red snapper quota was not met at the July 24, 2010 closure date and that approximately 2.3 million pounds of the 3.4 million pound quota remains.  
 
All regulations established for recreational harvest of red snapper will be in effect for this special season.  
 
Secretary Barham was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at their January 2010 meeting to change or modify opening and closing dates for the recreational red snapper season in Louisiana waters to comply with changes or modifications in season dates in federal waters. This action ensures that regulations in state waters will coincide with regulations for federally managed waters.
 
For additional information on the NOAA reopening, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/deepwater_horizon_oil_spill.htm .

For more information, contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or 225/765-2396.

 

2010-279

Agenda for October Commission Meeting

Release Date: 09/30/2010

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, October 7, 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 August 20, 2010 and September 2, 2010
  3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
  4. To receive and hear Update on Oil Spill and Current Response Efforts
  5. To receive presentation on Litter Enforcement Officer of the Year Award
  6. To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/September
  7. To receive and consider Notice of Intent on Assignment of Hull Identification Numbers to Undocumented Vessels Manufactured in Louisiana
  8. To receive and consider Notice of Intent to amend the Wildlife Rehabilitation Program
  9. To receive and hear Overview on Gulf Coastal Plain WMAs
  10. To receive and consider Declaration of Emergency and Notice of Intent on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill
  11. Set February 2011 Meeting Date
  12. Receive Public Comments
  13. Adjournment

2010-278

L.D.W.F. Agents Rescue Four Men in Timbalier Bay

Release Date: 09/30/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents rescued four crewmen from a sinking commercial shrimp boat on Sept. 29 in Timbalier Bay.
 
Agents responded to a distress call yesterday afternoon from the "Hippy Boy", which was located west of Belle Pass and taking on water.
 
Upon arrival, agents observed the 45-foot vessel resting low in the water, listing on the starboard side with waves crashing on the deck. The agents also observed four crewmen gathered on the vessel's highest point and signaling to be rescued.
 
Agents maneuvered their 32-foot patrol vessel to the port rear quarter of the "Hippy Boy" while dodging nets that were drifting near the vessel. One agent boarded the "Hippy Boy" to ensure that all of the crew were uninjured and assisted them into the patrol vessel.  The "Hippy Boy" eventually sank and remains in approximately eight feet of water.
 
The four crewmen safely rescued were Lenh Thach, 45, Phuong Tu Tran, 56, Tin Huu Mai, 43, all of Gretna, and Tuan Tran, 41, of Beaumont, Texas. Agents transported the four crewmen to the Fourchon Harbor Police to be evaluated and reunited with their families.
 
The cause of the vessel sinking has not yet been determined.
 
Agents participating in the rescue were Sgt. Ezekiel Talbert and Agent Ronnie Engelhard.
 
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

 

2010-277

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