LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to Close Pearl River Wildlife Management Area Due to Flooding

Release Date: 02/05/2016

Feb. 5, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area in St. Tammany Parish when the Pearl River flood gauge reaches 16.5 feet, which is expected to happen sometime Monday. The closure is an automatic benchmark as set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
 
The gate at the entrance to the WMA on Old Hwy. 11 will be closed and locked when the flood gauge reaches 16.5 feet. Included in the closure is the Pearl River-Honey Island Shooting Range, located in the Pearl River WMA.
 
Increasing water levels in the Pearl River has caused backwater flooding in the WMA. Once the water recedes, LDWF will inspect, repair and reopen the WMA when deemed safe for travel. 
 
The Pearl River WMA, which consists of 35,618 acres, is located approximately six miles east of Slidell and approximately one mile east of Pearl River.
 
For information on this WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2789 or contact Forest Burks at fburks@wlf.la.gov or 985-543-4781.

Nathan Wall Appointed to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, Board Elects New Chair and Vice Chair

Release Date: 02/04/2016

Feb. 4, 2016 – Nathan Wall, an alligator farmer from Springfield, has been appointed to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. Wall, a native of Springfield, replaces Dan Davis, whose term expired in December.
 
Wall, a commercial fishing and fur representative on the commission, was introduced during Thursday’s (Feb. 4) LWFC commission meeting in Baton Rouge.
 
The commission also elected Bart Yakupzack of Lake Charles as chair and Chad Courville of Lafayette as vice chair.
 
“It’s an honor to be appointed to the commission and I look forward to working with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries,’’ said Wall, owner of Wall’s Gator Farm in Springfield. “One thing I’d like to focus on is giving more access to the handicap sportsmen and women in our state. I also want to continue the work being done by the commission and department protecting the precious natural resources in our state.’’
 
Yakupzack, an at-large representative whose term expires in 2019, is an attorney with the Gray Law Firm in Lake Charles. Courville, an at-large appointee until 2021, is the land manager for Miami Corporation.

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Commission passes resolution to clarify that the three to nine nautical mile boundary extension will not impact gear used by commercial reef fish fishermen

Release Date: 02/04/2016

For Immediate Release:

Date: February 4, 2016

Contact:RLeBreton@wlf.la.gov

 

Today, the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission passed a resolution to clarify the effects of the extension of the state water boundary from three to nine nautical miles for reef fish management purposes, as established by the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act. 

The resolution clearly states that fishing gear used by the reef fish fishermen in the commercial and recreational sectors will not change within these new boundary waters. The fishermen of Louisiana will have the benefit of Louisiana’s reef fish management to 9 nautical miles, but there will be no change to the method of take or gear restrictions.

“Our agency is committed to extending reef fish access to our private anglers through nine miles, but we want our commercial fishermen to know that stricter state gear rules will not apply to their fishery inside of this boundary,” said LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon.

Recently signed into law, the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act includes a provision to temporarily extend Louisiana state waters to nine nautical miles for reef fish management purposes. Because federal commercial fishery regulations are not as strict as state laws, the commercial fishing sector quickly grew concerned with this temporary change. “The resolution signed today should provide confidence to our commercial reef fish fishermen that LDWF has no intention to modify normal operations of the commercial reef fish sector,” said Randy Pausina, Assistant Secretary of Fisheries.

LDWF reminds charter fishermen with federal reef fish permits that they are only allowed to fish these new boundary waters when the federal recreational reef fish season is open. Federal reef fish permit regulations restrict the permit holder to the most restrictive season. Please also note that red drum are not considered reef fish; therefore, there is no change to regulations impacting this species.

Fishing License Requirements

All persons (commercial or recreational) fishing for reef fish in the three to nine nautical mile boundary should have the appropriate Louisiana state fishing licenses. Though commercial gear regulations have not changed and remain consistent with federal regulations, these waters are still considered Louisiana state waters for all reef fish management purposes.

 

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

LWF Commission Modifies Rules for Commercial and Recreational Amberjack Harvest

Release Date: 02/04/2016

(Feb. 4, 2016) - Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission took action on a Notice of Intent to modify the commercial and recreational limits for greater amberjack harvest.
 
The commercial trip limit will decrease from 2,000 pounds whole weight to 1,500 pounds whole weight. The recreational size limit will increase from 30 to 34 inches fork length.
 
Earlier in 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service promulgated rules establishing this commercial trip limit reduction and recreational size limit increase.  Today’s action will provide consistency with federal regulations.
 
To view the full notice of intent, please visit here.
 
Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed rule to Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email to jadriance@wlf.la.gov prior to April 7, 2016.

LDWF Seeks Aquatic Volunteer Instructors

Release Date: 02/04/2016

(Feb. 4, 2016) - Are you are passionate about Louisiana’s fisheries or teaching others how to fish?  Then the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a great opportunity for you.  LDWF will offer a free Aquatic Volunteer Instructor workshop in Slidell at the Towers Building on Wednesday, February 17.
 
This 8-hour instructional workshop led by staff biologists will provide instruction on various fisheries topics including fishing techniques, fisheries management, knot tying, fish tagging, proper fish identification and more.
 
The hands-on workshop will not only teach potential volunteers how to coordinate their own aquatic education program, but will also provide certified volunteers access to loaner kits.  Rods, reels and basic tackle are just some of the items available for instructor use at events. Educational pamphlets and brochures are also offered to volunteers upon certification.
 
These workshops are also great for teachers and educators. The Department has developed lesson plans to correspond with Louisiana’s education standards. Educator resources are also provided through the loaner kit system. Two summer workshops are offered specifically for teachers, focusing on the lesson plan curriculum.
 
To sign up for the Slidell Aquatic VIP Workshop or to check out the other workshops offered throughout the state, please visit www.fishla.org/ldwf-volunteer-programs. Contact Alayna McGarry with any questions at amcgarry@wlf.la.gov or at (504) 286-4050.

Are You LDWF’s Next License to Win! Sweepstakes Winner?

Release Date: 02/03/2016

(Feb. 3, 2016) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is giving you the chance to win one of many outdoor prizes including ice chests, fishing rods, gift cards and more.  If these sound like prizes you’d be interested in winning, purchasing a recreational saltwater fishing license is the place to start. 
 
As part of it’s first annual License to Win! promotion, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in partnership with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, awards five monthly prize winners among those who purchase a 2015-16 recreational saltwater fishing license.
 
Winners drawn on January 1 include Arnold Bochner, Mark Baudean, George Hagmann, Barbara Meaux and Justin Farge.
 
Donated prizes include a YETI Tundra 45 ice chest, Shimano Curado G-Loomis Combo or gift cards from Academy Sports and Outdoors, Texaco and Whole Foods Market.
 
The department will continue to select five winners each month, and one lucky angler will take home the grand prize, a 22 foot bay boat, trailer and motor donated by Venice Marina, Mercury Outboards and Mike Gerald’s Trailer Depot.
 
The License to Win! sweepstakes encourages anglers to provide accurate contact information to participate in a survey (LA Creel) that helps LDWF manage their fishery. LA Creel is the data-gathering survey that allows LDWF biologists to manage our fisheries at localized levels across the state. The success of LA Creel will not only allow the Department to better manage fisheries, but will ultimately maximize the amount of fishing opportunities for Louisiana anglers. 
 
Visit your nearest license vendor or go online (www.wildlifelicense.com) to purchase your recreational saltwater license to be eligible for next month’s drawing.
 
Rules, photos and additional information can be found at http://www.fishla.org/license-win-sweepstakes/
 
 

LDWF Announces 2016 Derelict Crab Trap Cleanup; Volunteers Needed

Release Date: 02/01/2016

(Feb. 1, 2016) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will again host its annual Derelict Crab Trap Rodeo will two volunteer cleanup events during the month of February. 
 
The Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program was initiated by LDWF in 2004 to address the removal of derelict and abandoned crab traps.  The traps increase ghost-fishing mortality of blue crabs and other species captured incidentally, interfere with other commercial fishing gear types, create navigation hazards and degrade the beauty of our natural environment.
 
The volunteer-based program is funded through commercial fishermen gear fees, and since its inception has disposed of more than 24,000 derelict crab traps. Last year, LDWF and Louisiana Sea Grant staff, CCA, and volunteers from the recreational fishing community assisted in retrieving more than 400 abandoned traps.  This year, LDWF is teaming up with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program to conduct two cleanup events as part of the NOAA Marine Debris Removal Program.
 

Area Closures
 
In order to conduct the trap cleanups, licensed crab fishermen and seafood dealers received a notice informing them crab traps must be removed from within the closure areas during the closure period, and all remaining crab traps will be considered abandoned and may be removed by agency personnel or volunteers.
 
Crab traps may be removed only between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Anyone may remove these abandoned traps from within the closed areas.  Abandoned traps must be brought to LDWF designated disposal sites and may not be taken from the closed area.
 
These proposed trap removal regulations do not provide authorization for access to private property. Authorization to access private property can only be provided by individual landowners.
 
Maps of the closure areas can be found here, and the use of traps will be prohibited in the following areas:
·      Lake Pontchartrain: The use of crab traps will be prohibited beginning Friday, February 12 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, February 21 at 6 a.m.
·      Barataria Basin: The use of crab traps will be prohibited beginning Friday, February 19 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, February 28 at 6 a.m.
·      Sabine Lake: The use of crab traps will be prohibited in the following area beginning Friday, February 19 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, February 28 at 6 a.m.

Volunteers
 
LDWF encourages volunteers to participate in this opportunity to remove abandon crab traps and conserve Louisiana’s marine resources. Volunteers are needed to assist with dockside activities including unloading and stacking traps. The greatest need is for volunteer boat owners to help maximize trap collection.
 
·      Lake Pontchartrain: A dedicated volunteer day will be held on Saturday, February 13 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pelican Pointe Marina. This event is held in coordination with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, and lunch and door prizes will be provided. In order to better coordinate volunteer activities, volunteers are encouraged to register in advance at the following website: http://lpbf.wufoo.com/forms/derelict-crab-trap-registration/
 
·      Barataria Basin: A dedicated volunteer day will be held on Saturday, February 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Jean Lafitte Harbor. This event is held in coordination with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Foundation Program, and lunch and door prizes will be provided. In order to better coordinate volunteer activities, volunteers are encouraged to register in advance at the following website: https://surveymonkey.com/r/F9C2L2G

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Release Date: 02/01/2016

Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda Thursday, February 04, 2016

9:30 AM at LDWF Headquarters Buildling in Baton Rouge , La.

1. Call to Order

2. Roll Call

3. Approval of Minutes from January 07, 2016 and November 05, 2016 Meeting

4. Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

5. To hear Enforcement Reports January 2016

6. To hear a presentation on the Stock Assessment Report for Striped Mullet

7. To consider a Notice of Intent to modify Greater Amberjack commercial trip limits and recreational size limits

8. To hear a presentation on the recommendations of the Oyster Lease Moratorium Lifting Committee

9. To consider a Resolution confirming Louisiana’s jurisdiction over Reef Fish Management between three and nine nautical miles, as recognized by the U.S. Congress, and clarifying gear restrictions, methods of take and licensing in these waters

10. To hear an update on comments regarding the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 General and WMA Hunting Seasons and Rules and Regulations, 2017 General and WMA Turkey Hunting Season and Rules and Regulations, and 2016-2017 Migratory Birds Regulations, Seasons, and Bag Limits Notice of Intent and to Consider any amendments thereto

11. To hear an update on the Game and Fish Preserves’ governing authorities contacts

12. Set June 2016 Meeting Date

13. Receive Public Comments

14. Adjournment

 

A live stream of this meeting will be available via GotoWebinar.com at the following link:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3246852711580946178

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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Deer Hunting Season to Reopen in Parts of Deer Area 9

Release Date: 01/29/2016

Jan. 29, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is providing notice to deer hunters that deer hunting season in parts of Deer Area 9 in the Atchafalaya Basin will reopen Saturday (Jan. 30) when the Atchafalaya River gauge at Butte La Rose falls below 18 feet. 
 
The area encompasses Iberia, Iberville, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes south of I-10, west and east of the Atchafalaya Basin Protection Levees and north of U.S. 90.
 
The closure was necessitated when the flood gauge at Butte La Rose reached 18 feet on Jan. 9. The High Water Benchmark Closure, enacted by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in Title 76, automatically closes that section of Deer Area 9 when the gauge hits the 18-foot mark.
 
Deer hunting season in Deer Area 9 is still open for primitive firearms and archery. Primitive firearms season comes to a close Sunday (Jan. 31) 30 minutes after sunset and archery ends Feb. 15.
 
For additional information on this deer hunting season, please contact Johnathan Bordelon @ 318-487-5885 or jbordelon@wlf.la.gov .

Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board to Meet 2-2-16

Release Date: 01/28/2016

Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board to Meet

The Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board will meet on Tuesday, February 2, 2016. The meeting will convene at 9:30 a.m. in the second floor conference room of the University of New Orleans’ Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans.  

Agenda items for the meeting of the Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board are as follows:

1.     Roll Call of Board Members

2.     Approval of Minutes from November 10, 2015 Meeting

3.     Hearing of Deferred Renewal Permit Appeals

a.     Myron Prosperie

4.     Hearing of New Renewal Permit Appeals

a.     Brock Buras

5.     Update on Recommendations Made at November 10, 2015 Meeting

6.     Receive Public Comments

7.     Set next meeting date

8.     Adjournment

This Board was established by Act 922 of the 2008 Regular Legislative Session for the purpose of hearing appeals of vessel permit denials by LDWF. Act 922 requires that anyone commercially harvesting oysters on the public oyster seed grounds and reservations, except those in Calcasieu Lake and Sabine Lake, must do so from a vessel holding a public oyster seed ground vessel permit issued by LDWF.

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.

 

For more information, please contact Ty Lindsey at 225-765-2387 or tlindsey@wlf.la.gov.  

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