LDWF News

LDWF News Release

COMMERCIAL KING MACKEREL SEASON TO CLOSE NOVEMBER 7

Release Date: 10/31/2014

October 31, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today that the commercial season for king mackerel in Louisiana waters will close at noon on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014.
 
The closure was made based on data gathered by LDWF biologists and the National Marine Fisheries Service, that the annual quota for king mackerel of 1.07 million pounds for the western zone of the Gulf of Mexico would soon be met.  The commercial fishing season for king mackerel closed in federal waters at noon on October 17. 
 
Each year, a commercial quota is established for Gulf of Mexico group king mackerel by NMFS based on recommendations by the Gulf and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils. That figure is then divided into allocations for various zones and fisheries.  According to the best information available, the 1.07 million pound commercial quota of king mackerel for the western zone of the Gulf of Mexico was harvested or projected to be harvested.
 
The commercial king mackerel season in Louisiana waters has previously been closed on March 27, 2009 (08-09 season), Sept. 12, 2009 (09-10 season), Feb.11, 2011 (10-11 season), Sept.16, 2011 (11-12 season), Aug.22, 2012 (12-13 season), and Sept. 20, 2013 (13-14 season).
 
While there are relatively few king mackerel harvested or targeted by Louisiana recreational anglers, a substantial commercial fishery does exist, which typically lands 800 to 900 thousand pounds annually at Louisiana ports.  A significant portion of the king mackerel landed in Louisiana ports is shipped to markets in the northeast United States.
 
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 press release inquiries contact Ashley Roth, aroth@wlf.la.gov or 504-286-4162.

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Two Men Sentenced In Jefferson Parish for Illegal Red Snapper Sales

Release Date: 10/30/2014

Two Bridge City men pled guilty to violations for the illegal red snapper sales in Jefferson Parish on Oct. 28.

Yoan Hernandez, 29, and Manuel Hernandez, 47, were ordered to pay $1,650 in restitution to the state by the 2nd Parish Court in the 26 Judicial District.  Yoan Hernandez was ordered to pay a fine of $835.50 with suspended jail term of 60 days.  Manuel Hernandez was ordered to pay a fine of $715.50 with a suspended jail term of 60 days.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents on a Joint Enforcement Agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration arrested and cited both men on Sept. 9, 2012.  Agents with the Special Investigations Unit purchased a total of 655 pounds of red snapper from the two men in Bridge City.

Agents cited the men with three counts of not having federal reef fish permits, three counts of not having or acquiring individual fish quota (IFQ) of red snapper, three counts of selling fish without wholesale retail licenses, three counts of failing to maintain records and three counts of failing to complete commercial trip tickets.

Agents involved in the case were Sgt. Adam Young, Sgt. Kris Bourgeois, Sgt. Tim Fox and Senior Agent Mitchell Saunders.

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

LDWF Hosts Mother-Child FUN Camp

Release Date: 10/30/2014

LDWF Hosts Mother-Child FUN Camp
LDWF Hosts Mother-Child FUN Camp
LDWF Hosts Mother-Child FUN Camp
LDWF Hosts Mother-Child FUN Camp

Oct. 30, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Education Program coordinated activities at the annual Mother-Child FUN Camp Oct. 3 through 5 at the Woodworth Outdoor Education facility.

Eight families participated in various activities including .22 rifle and shotgun target shooting, archery, kayaking, outdoor cooking, fire building, orienteering, nature hiking, toad abodes, spider sniffing night hike, fishing and overnight camping in tents.

FUN means Families Understanding Nature and offers parents and their children an opportunity to spend a weekend in the outdoors, re-establishing bonds and honing outdoor skills.

The dates scheduled for future camps include: Father/Child FUN Camp, March 6-8, 2015; and Mother/Child FUN Camp, Oct. 2-4, 2015. Both will be held at the Woodworth Outdoor Education facility, south of Alexandria.

Pre-registration is required and space is limited and filled on a first come, first served basis. Registration is $50 for each family (a parent and child). Each additional child is $25. The fee covers meals, lodging and supplies (including tents) used over the weekend. Bed linens and sleeping bags are not provided.

To obtain a registration form on-line, visit LDWF’s website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/fun-camp or contact Karen Crabtree at 318-766-8144 or kcrabtree@wlf.la.gov .

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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16 Year Olds Survive Boating Incident

Release Date: 10/29/2014

Two 16 year old boys from the Crowley area survived a boating incident on the Indian Creek Reservoir in Rapides Parish on Oct. 26.

The juveniles were fishing and traveling in a boat channel on the north end of the reservoir in a boat when they struck a tree.  Both boys were ejected from the 16 foot aluminum vessel and sustained minor to moderate cuts and bruises.

Because the operator was wearing the engine cut-off switch lanyard, the vessel shut off after the boys were ejected.  The boys were able to get back into the stalled vessel where a fisherman found them shortly after the incident and transported them to the boat launch where Acadian Ambulance was then able to transport the passenger to the Rapides General Hospital to treat a leg injury.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division will be the leading investigative agency for this incident.

LDWF agents believe at this time that the boys greatly increased their chance of survival because the operator took a safe boating education class, both boys were wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) and the operator utilized the engine cut-off switch lanyard.

“These boys took all the right precautions to increase their chance of survival,” said Col. Joey Broussard, head of the Enforcement Division.  “We believe that this could have been a fatal outcome had they not been wearing PFDs that kept them afloat in case they wouldn’t have been able to swim from their injuries and the cut-off switch lanyard that prevented the boat from turning into a weapon and hitting one or both of the boys.”

PFDs are required for anyone 16 years of age and younger when in a vessel less than 26 foot long while underway.  An engine cut-off switch is required for anyone operating a vessel with a hand tiller outboard motor that is less than 26 foot long and in excess of 10 horsepower that is designed to have a cut-off switch.

“While this vessel was not required to have the cut-off switch since it was not a hand tiller engine, we always teach people to use it if the boat has one,” said Lt. Col. Sammy Martin, the state’s Boating Law Administrator.  “We are hoping that other people will see how these boys took the extra couple of safety precautions by wearing their PFDs and cut-off switch that may have been the difference between life and death.”

The free boating education safety class is mandatory for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1984 operating a vessel in excess of 10 horsepower.  The classes are available statewide and year-round and the schedule can be found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

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

LDWF’s Get Out and Fish Louisiana! Launches in Lafayette

Release Date: 10/23/2014

(Oct. 23, 2014) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in partnership with the City of Lafayette, will launch its new Get Out and Fish! Program on Saturday, November 15 at Girard Park in Lafayette.  Join us for a fun fishing competition and educational activities for all ages.
 
LDWF biologists will demonstrate fishing fundamentals including bait and tackle selection tips to fish identification. Other activities will include knot tying, casting practice and an interative mobile touch tank.  LDWF’s mascot, Robbie the Redfish, will make appearances throughout the day to greet attendees and take photographs.

Fishing competition categories include heaviest catfish and heaviest “other” fish.  Age divisions include Little Angler (ages 10 and under), Junior Angler (ages 11-15) and Adult Angler (ages 16 and older). 
Prior to the event, Girard Park Pond will be stocked with adult channel catfish, so don’t forget to bring your own gear, bait and an ice chest to keep your fish.  Anglers 16 and older must possess a valid Louisiana fishing license. 
 
The event is free, and the first 100 registrants in attendance will receive a complimentary rod and reel, courtesy of Pure Fishing, and a goody bag.  In addition, every participant will be entered into raffle drawings throughout the day for a chance to win prizes from sponsors including Raising Canes, Louisiana Nursery, Home Depot, Buckfins-N-Feathers, Cajun Guns and Tackle and others.  Lunch will be provided courtesy of the Beaver Club of Lafayette.  Pre-registration is available online at www.wlf.la.gov/getoutandfish.

The Get Out and Fish! Program seeks to increase the number of people with access to quality fishing. The program intends to recruit new anglers to the sport of fishing and promote outdoor activities for future generations. In order to accomplish this mission, public water bodies that meet the required specifications will be chosen by LDWF biologists and stocked on a regular basis for up to one year. LDWF will promote the launch of each new site with a Get Out and Fish! event.

This event is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.  The LWFF was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Department and Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fish resources.

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.la.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information on Get Out and Fish! Program, contact Danica Williams at dwilliams@wlf.la.gov or (504) 628-7282.  For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.

Terrebonne Parish Man Arrested After Boat Chase

Release Date: 10/21/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Houma man after a boat chase on Oct. 20 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents arrested Charlie Use`, 32, for aggravated flight from an officer, careless operation of a vessel, taking or possessing more than 10 redfish, taking or possessing undersized redfish, no navigation lights, intentional concealment of fish and not possessing a basic or saltwater fishing license.  Agents booked him into the Terrebonne Parish Jail.

Agents made contact with Use` in Bayou DeCade south of Houma around 6 a.m. on Oct. 20.  Agents stopped Use` because he didn’t have the required navigation lights on his 18 foot vessel.

While making contact with Use`, agents observed him dump redfish into the water.  While the agents were trying to retrieve the redfish, Use` took off in his vessel in an effort to escape.  After a brief one mile chase, agents were able to get Use` to stop his vessel and arrest him.

Agents were able to determine that Use` possessed over 10 redfish of which some were undersized by observing the fish that were dumped and by questioning Use`.

Aggravated flight from an officer brings up to a $2,000 fine and five years in jail.  Reckless operation of a vessel carries up to a $300 fine and 30 days in jail.  Intentional concealment of fish brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possessing more than 10 redfish brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possessing undersized redfish carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Failing to possess basic and saltwater fishing licenses and for not having navigation lights each brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail for each offense.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Joe Arnaud and Senior Agent Stephen Rhodes.

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

Map Available With Louisiana Estimated Deer Breeding Periods

Release Date: 10/17/2014

Map Available With Louisiana Estimated Deer Breeding Periods

Oct. 17, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has created a map detailing the estimated deer breeding periods across the state.
 
Deer breeding periods are primarily determined by the genetics of the does, but many other factors can affect breeding timing. Deer health, density, sex ratios and habitat conditions are other important variables affecting deer breeding periods. 
 
The map is a guide to general deer breeding periods in Louisiana.  It was developed using GIS software and includes breeding dates calculated from fetal measurements taken across the state. These dates provide the best estimates of the average two-week peak breeding periods over time. The entire breeding range will usually be longer than what is shown on the map. In many locations, data was collected over multiple years, increasing the sample sizes and capturing any variation that might occur over a longer time period.
 
To access the map on the LDWF website, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/louisiana-estimated-deer-breeding-periods .
 
Since 2006, previously unsampled areas across the state have been targeted for sample collection, resulting in a greatly improved data base.  Many of these areas are of lower deer density and more difficult for collection of sufficient data.  Area sample sizes vary and the dates calculated from areas with small numbers of samples will not be as accurate as those with large numbers of samples.  Areas nearest the actual collection points will be the most accurate.  This map will continue to change slightly as more samples are added and area data gaps are filled.
 
Hunters should remember that there is annual variation in breeding timing, and that peak breeding times are not necessarily peak buck movement times.  Bucks may be more active before or after peak breeding periods, but a great amount of research has shown that peak buck movement is one to two weeks before peak breeding.
 
For more information, contact Scott Durham at 225-765-2351 or sdurham@wlf.la.gov .

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Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Scheduled to Meet October 21, 2014

Release Date: 10/17/2014

The Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council will meet Tuesday, October 21 at 1:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting in the Louisiana Room is as follows:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of Oct. 29, 2013 and March 11, 2014 and June 24, 2014

3.  Welcome and Opening Comments from Chairman

4.  LA Trappers & Alligator Hunters Association Report

5.  Enforcement Division Report

6.  Office of Fisheries: Outreach Section Program Overview

7.  Office of Wildlife: 2014-15 Deer Season Overview

8.  2014 Youth Hunter of the Year Contest

9.  Set Next Meeting Date

10.  Receive Public Comments

11.  Adjournment

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

 

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Construction to begin this week on the “Pickets Reef”

Release Date: 10/16/2014

SS26 Pickets Platform

(Oct. 16, 2014) - Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, Apache Corporation, Fieldwood Energy and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will begin construction this week on an artificial reef system at the site of the recently removed structures in Ship Shoal 26, known by many Louisiana anglers as “the Pickets.” A dedication ceremony and media site visit will be conducted at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, at Coco Marina in Cocodrie, La.   
 
This cooperative effort calls for the deployment of roughly 14,000 tons of 4-inch limestone over three specially engineered artificial reefs.  The reefs will be designed to protect depressions in the seafloor that were created by the prevailing current flowing around and through the Pickets. In doing so, the reefs will maintain and enhance these scour holes, while providing additional habitat for marine life.
 
“This area has served as a trout fishing haven for many years, and we are extremely pleased that we are able to preserve this angling hot spot,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  "Speckled trout and redfish are typically associated with low- to mid-relief structures which provide a refuge from currents, where they can remain without expending energy while preying on food as it is carried across the structure. This makes this area a particularly important fisheries habitat.”
 
“There are many trout fishermen in this state who have fond memories of the Pickets," said David Cresson, executive director of Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana (CCA Louisiana.) “It’s unfortunate that we have to say goodbye to those structures, but we are grateful to have partners here who were committed to doing everything they could to maintain the area for future generations. The Pickets has been a special place, and this partnership is working to make sure it stays that way.”
 
Fieldwood acquired Apache's Gulf of Mexico shelf assets in 2013, including the Pickets structures and pilings located at Ship Shoal 26. As part of the acquisition, Fieldwood entered into a decommissioning agreement with Apache and is responsible for making sure the removal work at Ship Shoal 26, which is required by the federal government, is completed. From the outset, both companies understood the significance of the iconic structures and were committed to mitigating the impact of the removals on the fishery and the recreational angling community.
 
Obie O'Brien, vice president of Governmental Affairs for Apache Corporation, said, "Apache has operated in South Louisiana and in the Gulf of Mexico for decades. Hundreds of our employees and former employees live, work and raise their families along the coast. We were happy to be part of this effort to preserve, protect and enhance one of the iconic fishing spots in Louisiana. We understand the need for a strong and diverse environment because we live it every day."
 
John Seeger, Fieldwood's vice president of Decommissioning, noted, "The Pickets is an area that residents of Louisiana and Texas—including many of our employees at Fieldwood—have fished for decades. We are required by federal law to remove the structures but wanted to come up with a solution that would preserve this renowned fishing area for generations to come."
 
The $1.2 million project is being funded by Apache, Fieldwood, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Artificial Reef Trust Fund, and CCA’s Building Conservation Trust. The contractor for construction of the reefs, DLS Energy, and the company providing the materials for the reefs, G & H Barge, are providing significant in-kind services and materials for the project. Continuing support of CCA Louisiana’s Habitat Program is provided by the Paul Candies family.
 
The Pickets Reef is the 10th reef of its kind to be funded through the Louisiana Artificial Reef Trust fund in cooperation with CCA Louisiana.  Overall, this is the 14th reef built by CCA Louisiana since 2004.
 
“This project is a great example of industry, nonprofits and government coming together to create a positive outcome for our coast,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “Our thanks goes out to Apache, Fieldwood, CCA and all of our partners for working with us to find a solution to this challenging issue.”
 
“This had the potential to be a sad ending to a storied fishing spot, but now we have a tremendous amount of hard structure going in to replace habitat that is required to be removed,” said John Walther, chairman of CCA Louisiana's Habitat Committee. “This is the best outcome that could be achieved, and Apache and Fieldwood should be commended. They didn't have to go the extra mile, but both companies wanted to make this right from the beginning and they certainly stepped up. We hope this can be a template for addressing marine habitat that stands to be lost due to the Idle Iron Policy.”
 
Marker buoys will be placed on the site after construction is completed so that anglers can locate the reefs.
 
After a short presentation at the Coco Marina at 10 a.m., Tuesday, members of the media will be taken by boat to the reef construction site.  Project organizers and partners will be available to the media throughout the event.
 
For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey, awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.

Fraudulent Shrimp Sales Lands Rayne Man in Jail

Release Date: 10/15/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Rayne man for alleged fraudulent shrimp sales in on Oct. 14.

Agents arrested Shannon J. Roche, 37, for four counts of theft by fraudulent shrimp sales and for failing to maintain records in Acadia and Jefferson Davis parishes.

Agents received complaints from three victims in Jefferson Davis Parish and one victim in Acadia Parish.  Agents investigated each complaint and determined that Roche sold shrimp to these consumers whom did not receive the correct amount of shrimp.  LDWF agents booked Roche into the Acadia Parish Jail.

Fraudulent shrimp sales brings a up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail for each count.  Failing to maintain records brings up to a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each count.

Agents arrested Roche on similar charges on Feb. 26 earlier this year in Lafayette Parish.

Sgt. Justin Sonnier and Senior Agent Donald Murray are investigating this case.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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