LDWF News Release

Port Sulphur Man Charged with Attempted First Degree Murder

Release Date: 03/27/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a Port Sulphur man for attempted first-degree murder of a LDWF agent, aggravated assault, resisting an officer, public intimidation and taking oysters from a polluted area on March 26.

With the aid of Louisiana State Police and the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office (PPSO), LDWF agents arrested Jonathan K. Ragas, 50, at his home in Port Sulphur and booked him into the Plaquemines Parish Jail.

The arrest stems from an incident that occurred on March 20 when Ragas was stopped by an LDWF agent and PPSO marine division deputies who were assisting in the patrol.  The agent and deputies found Ragas taking oysters from polluted waters.

When the LDWF agent attempted to board Ragas’ vessel, Ragas exhibited violent behavior toward the agent and would not allow the agent to board the vessel.  At one point during the encounter Ragas brandished a hatchet toward the LDWF agent in an aggressive manner.  After repeated attempts to board the vessel and because of officer safety concerns, the agent and deputies decided to detain Ragas at a later date with an arrest warrant.

This is the sixth time that Ragas has been charged by LDWF agents for taking oysters from an unapproved area.  This also makes the third time that Ragas has been charged for assaulting an LDWF agent.

Attempted first-degree murder carries a penalty of life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.  Aggravated assault brings up to a $1,000 fine and six months of jail time.  Resisting an officer carries up to a $500 fine and six months of jail time.  Public intimidation brings up to a $1,000 fine and five years in jail with or without hard labor.  Taking oysters from an unapproved area brings up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Adam Young, Lt. Eddie Skena, Sgt. Jason Russo, and Senior Agents Villere Reggio, Robert Cosse Jr., Gary Pierce, and Mitch Saunders.  Also assisting in the case are Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office Lt. Gerald Cormier and Deputy Chad Lafrance and from Louisiana State Police Lt. Dean Behrens, Sgt. Joseph Piglia, Trooper Gus Bethea, and
Trooper Kory Borcheding.

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

2013 Archery in Louisiana Schools Tournament Winners Announced

Release Date: 03/26/2013

March 2, 2013: Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) State Tournament at the LSU Ag Center’s Mega-Shelter near Alexandria.
March 2, 2013: Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) State Tournament at the LSU Ag Center’s Mega-Shelter near Alexandria.

March 26, 2013 -- The 2013 Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) State Tournament, coordinated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Wildlife Division, was held March 2 at the LSU Ag Center’s Mega-Shelter near Alexandria.

Nearly 500 students from 18 schools participated in the elementary, middle and high school divisions for a variety of prizes, and a chance to compete at the national tournament held in Kentucky.  The tournament consisted of seven flights with up to 80 archers shooting per flight.  Awards were given to the top five individual shooters and top three teams in each division.  The top scoring male and female shooter in each division also received a new Genesis bow. 

Tournament results:

                        TEAM AWARDS

Elementary Division

Benton Elem.                        1st  Place       

Phoenix Magnet Elem.          2nd Place

Ball Elem.                              3rd Place       

Middle School Division

Benton Middle                      1st Place

Poland Jr. High                     2nd Place

Cope Middle                         3rd Place


High School Division

Caddo Magnet                      1st Place

Bossier High                         2nd Place


                        INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

Elementary Division

Kendal Fowler            Benton Elem.            1st Place

Kayla Lynch               Benton Elem.            2nd Place

Aidan Haire                Benton Elem.            3rd Place


Middle School Division

Peyton Vanlangendonck        Poland Jr. High        1st Place

Logan Wilhite                        Cope Middle             2nd Place

Gave Fradella                        Benton Middle          3rd Place


High School Division

Anna Leskova                   Caddo Magnet                 1st Place

Kellen Hall                        Caddo Magnet                 2nd Place

Thomas Thompson         Caddo Magnet                 3rd Place


The Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) program promotes international-style target archery as part of the in-school curriculum in grades 4-12.  The curriculum covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, core strengthening physical fitness and self improvement. 

Teachers attend an eight-hour Basic Archery Instructor (BAI) training program to learn to teach the in-school curriculum. These trainings are conducted by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ education staff free of charge. Students use standardized equipment to shoot at targets placed before an arrow curtain in the school gymnasium.

Participating schools in this year’s tournament included: Ball Elementary, Benton Elementary, Caroline Dorman Elementary and Junior High, Mary Goff Elementary, Olla Elementary, Hayden R. Lawrence, Phoenix Magnet Elementary, Poland Elementary and Junior High, Benton Middle School, Buckeye Junior High School, Cope Middle School, Haughton Middle School, Bossier High JROTC, Tioga Junior High, Caddo Magnet High School and LA National Guard Youth Challenge Program.

For more information, contact Robert Stroede, LDWF Wildlife Division at 318-484-2276 or rstroede@wlf.la.gov .


LDWF Amps Up Research on Recreational Harvest of Red Snapper

Release Date: 03/21/2013

Department also reminds anglers of required permits

March 21, 2013 - .  In an effort to better monitor the recreational catch of red snapper during the “Louisiana-only” season, LDWF biologists will be conducting creel surveys, specific to red snapper, beginning this Saturday, March 23.  Anglers may also see an increased presence of LDWF biologists at their local boat ramp, conducting dockside interviews.

Department Surveys

These surveys will be separate from the federally sponsored Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) surveys that anglers may have been a part of in the past.  These surveys will be short and aimed at better assessing the number of red snapper landed in Louisiana.

In addition to dockside interviews, LDWF will be contacting a random portion of non-charter Louisiana Recreational Offshore Permit holders every Tuesday by phone, following the Friday, Saturday and Sunday red snapper season (on Wednesdays following Monday holidays).  LDWF will ask five simple questions of permit holders; 1) Did you fish offshore, which is beyond the beach or rocks, last Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? 2) How many of these offshore trips did you take last Friday, Saturday or Sunday?  3) How many of these trips were paid charter trips?.  4) Did you land your fish at a site that is open to the general public?  5) Did you land your fish between 2 p.m. and sunset?

The randomly selected group of non-charter permit holders will be notified by e-mail (from the account RedSnapperSurvey@scpdc.org) each Wednesday before the weekend season as to their selection.  Those selected permit holders will have the option to answer all five questions, by reply e-mail, prior to noon on the Tuesday following the weekend season to avoid receiving a phone call.  These e-mails will also be sent by the South Central Planning and Development Commission on behalf of LDWF.

Charter captains holding a Louisiana Recreational Offshore Landing Permit will also be contacted by LDWF weekly to collect information on the number of trips and the total number of red snapper caught during the Friday, Saturday and Sunday season.  Charter captains will have the option to respond electronically prior to a biologist contacting them on the phone.

“As our department moves forward with unprecedented actions, to protect the rights of Louisiana anglers, we hope to have the support of the fishing community as we work diligently to capture more data about our recreational red snapper fishery,” commented LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “This is a critical piece of the puzzle as the state of Louisiana continues to build our case toward regional management.” 

Required Permits

LDWF also takes this opportunity to remind anglers of the required free Louisiana Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess red snapper in Louisiana.  This permit was designed to gather more accurate information on recreational and charter anglers that annually fish beyond Louisiana’s territorial waters and to produce more accurate data regarding participation in Louisiana’s offshore recreational fisheries.

The free Louisiana Recreational Offshore Landing Permit may be obtained by visiting www.wlf.la.gov/rolp

For-hire vessels are also reminded that if federal regulations for Gulf reef fish are more restrictive than state regulations, a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat for which a federal charter/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must comply with federal regulations regardless of where the fish are harvested.  Therefore, during the time federal waters are closed, vessels with a federal charter/headboat permit may not harvest or possess red snapper in state waters.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant 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 inquiries, contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.




Louisiana Offers Further Clarification on 2013 Red Snapper Season

Release Date: 03/20/2013

March 20, 2013 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries takes the bold action to move forward with a Louisiana-only recreational red snapper season. 

The Louisiana-only Season

Beginning this Saturday, March 23, Louisiana will implement a weekend-only recreational red snapper season that will end on September 30, with a recreational bag limit of three fish per day at a 16-inch minimum. 

A weekend is defined as Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of Memorial Day and Labor Day, when Monday will be classified as a weekend day as well.

“One day we will look back on today’s actions and see them as a historic move for Louisiana recreational anglers and for our abundant natural resources,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “No longer will we sit idly by, as our fates are determined by someone with so little understanding of our fisheries and a refusal to negotiate. Whether their actions are ones of arrogance or fear, we join our Gulf neighbors in Texas and Florida, who implemented similar state-by-state regulations today, in standing up to NOAA and showing them that their strong-arm tactics will not work on us.”

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham was given the authority to modify the portions of this rule pertaining to red snapper recreational daily harvest limits and season if NOAA instituted sub-regional management for the species or if it is otherwise deemed necessary.

“Louisiana’s recreational fishing community has spoken and we have listened,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina, head of fisheries for Louisiana.  “In this unprecedented move, our department is challenging the recommendations set by NOAA through the National Marine Fisheries Service.   Our actions may seem rogue, but I assure you we have not entered into this lightly or without great thought.  We plan to conduct our own research, analysis and make our own decisions on what is best for Louisiana anglers and our resource.  For years the wishes of our anglers have fallen on deaf ears… that ends now.”

The Louisiana Gulfward Boundary

In June 2012 the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission took action to extend Louisiana state waters from three miles offshore to three marine leagues or approximately 10.357 miles. 

LDWF officials encourage fishermen to use caution and their own personal judgment when fishing beyond the three mile boundary that is currently recognized as federal waters, as it is fully expected that federal agents will continue to enforce federal law.  Until the time when the US Congress confirms Louisiana’s action, the battle will continue over Louisiana’s state water boundary.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant 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 inquiries, contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.


Eight Oyster Fishermen Convicted for Oyster Harvest Violations

Release Date: 03/19/2013

March 19, 2013 -- Today, March 19, eight oyster fishermen entered a no contest plea for several health and oyster violations in the 15th Judicial District Court of Louisiana in Vermilion Parish.

The Honorable Judge Durwood Conque accepted the pleas from Antonio G. Ayala, 34, Jose L. Ayala, 41, Jose M. Ayala, 21, all of Dickinson, Texas, Jose F. Rodriguez, 31, Jose G. Arredondo, 45, Octavio R. Vega, 38, all of Houston, Texas, Jose M. Bocanegra, 23, of Bacliff, Texas, and Heliodoro Gonzalez-Bocanegra, 43, of Chalmette.  Judge Conque ordered the men to each pay a fine of $1,922.50.

On July 25, 2012, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents in Vermilion Parish conducted surveillance on a group of oyster fisherman that were harvesting oysters in Southwest Pass.

Agents observed several boats coming into the dock in Intracoastal City with sacks of oysters that were labeled to be shucked and processed.  However, agents later observed these fishermen change the tags on the sacks of oysters to indicate that the oysters could be consumed raw when offloading the sacks from their boats.  These mislabeled sacks of oysters were then loaded onto a truck and were destined for Florida, before LDWF agents intercepted the shipment.
Oysters that are intended for raw consumption have strict harvest and refrigeration requirements that were not met by these fishermen.  Agents seized a total of 495 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water in an area closed to oyster harvesting.

Each man pleaded no contest for violating the sanitation code for logbook and refrigeration requirements, adulterating or misbranding seafood, violating interstate commerce regulations and failing to fill out oyster tags correctly.

Since April of 2012, LDWF agents have seized over 1,000 sacks of oysters in Vermilion Parish alone and returned these oysters to closed areas.  These seizures were mainly pertaining to the enforcement of refrigeration requirements for oysters intended for raw consumption.

Sgt. Justin Sonnier was the lead investigator on this case, which was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Aimee Hebert.

Major Jubal Marceaux, Capt. Robert Buatt, Sgt. Brian Theriot and Senior Agents Jason Stagg, Myron Verret, Derek Logan, Carl Pickett, Donnie Bozeman and Jason Marks also assisted with this case.

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

Five New Orleans Men Cited for Fishing Violations in Gulf

Release Date: 03/19/2013

March 19, 2013 -- After a joint investigation between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), LDWF Enforcement Division agents cited five New Orleans men for alleged fishing violations today, March 19.

LDWF agents cited Nam Nguyen, 52, Nam Truong, 82, Hung Tran, 55, Son Pham, 41, and Hang Nguyen, 51, for violating highly migratory species regulations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Agents received a complaint from NOAA Fisheries that the USCG discovered the vessel fishing in federal waters with live bait on March 18.  LDWF agents boarded the vessel, The Blue Fin, when it returned to Dulac this morning and found J-hooks, hand lines and three places to hold live bait.

It is illegal to fish for highly migratory species in the Gulf of Mexico with live bait and J-hooks.  Circle hooks and either artificial lures or dead bait can be used with a highly migratory species permit.

Violating highly migratory species regulations brings up to $50,000 in fines, loss of any highly migratory species permits for up to one year and loss of catch.  Agents seized 2,861 pounds of yellowfin tuna and a total of 623 pounds of swordfish, wahoo and escolar, hand lines and two buoys.

LDWF Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Louis Burnett, Senior Agents Dean Aucoin and Norman Deroche and Sgt. Ted Dewitt.  NOAA Fisheries Special Agent Steve Campbell and USCG Ensign Zack Bowman also assisted in the case.

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

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting

Release Date: 03/15/2013

The following is the agenda for the Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting. The public is invited to attend.

Tuesday, March 19 1:00 PM

UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210, New Orleans


I.  Roll Call

II.  Approval of  February 28, 2013  MINUTES

III.  Treasury Report

   A. Oyster Tag Sales

   B. LOTF Financial Report

IV.  Committee Reports

  A.  Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee

  B.  Enforcement 

  C.  Legislative

  D.  Research

  E.  Coastal Restoration

  F.  Marketing

  G.  Health

  H. Sustainability

V.     Old Business

  1.   BP Oil Spill Remediation
    1. Claims Process
    2. Public Reef Remediation
    3. Oyster Lease Remediation
  2. Out Da Bayou      

VI.  New Business

  A.  VMS Update - Nick Salvi with Polestar   

  B.  Proposed Cypremort Point Artificial Reef-Patrick Banks, LDWF             

  C.  Status of Public Grounds- Patrick Banks, LDWF

  D.  Tier 2.1 Financial Disclosure Forms

VII.  Set Next meeting

VIII.  Adjourn




Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board to Meet

Release Date: 03/15/2013


The Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board will meet on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. The meeting will convene at 9:30 a.m. in Suite 200 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. Approval of Minutes from December 4, 2012 Meeting
  2. Hearing of Deferred Appeals
    1. Mark Tayamen
  3. Hearing of New Permit Appeals
    1. Brett Johnson
    2. Marty Melerine
    3. Vlaho Mjehovich
    4. Raymond Nehlig
  4. Set next meeting date
  5. Receive Public Comments
  6. 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.

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




LDWF and New Orleans City Park Present 66th Annual Big Bass Rodeo on April 6

Release Date: 03/14/2013

(March 14, 2013) -    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is once again teaming with New Orleans City Park for their 66th annual Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival. 

Spring is just around the corner, which means water temperatures are rising and largemouth bass activity is picking up.  In addition, the Department will be stocking the lagoon today with 50 adult Florida largemouth bass, averaging over two pounds each.

The purpose of the stocking is two-fold: adding Florida largemouth bass will enhance future urban fishing opportunities by increasing the potential for catching larger fish and may also help to control invasive cichlid populations. 

The upcoming Big Bass Rodeo is deemed the oldest freshwater rodeo in the country, providing opportunities for anglers of all ages and backgrounds to catch those elusive lunkers for bragging rights and trophies.   The Department is committed to protecting and managing the state’s natural resources and will be present to assist anglers with the weighing, holding and safe release of all fish.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 6 at the Casino Building (currently Morning Call Café) in New Orleans City Park.  Registration begins at 6 a.m. and fishing at 6:30 a.m. and weigh-in closes at 11 a.m. near the bandstand.  Entry fees are only $10 for adults (13 and older) and $5 for kids (12 and younger).  All anglers are asked to bring their own rod and reel, as well as bait.

In addition to the rodeo, the free Fishtival begins at 9 a.m. near the Casino and Bandstand area.  Numerous demonstrations, exhibits, and outdoor activities will be available for youth and adults including a youth casting contest, free casting lessons, and a 1,000 gallon freshwater aquarium provided by LDWF.

Visit www.neworleanscitypark.com/bigbass for details, online registration, registration forms, rules, regulations and a fishing map.

If your rods and reels are gathering dust and you can’t remember the last time you took your child fishing, what in the world are you waiting for?  Fishing is a sport best passed from generation to generation.  It instills patience, respect for the environment, and offers countless teaching opportunities about ecosystems, habitats, and how man fits into the great scheme of things.  Fishing is also a sport that requires little money to get started.  Most kids are happy with a cane pole, bobber, and worms for bait.

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

For press inquires, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 765-2396.





L.W.F.C. Adopts Amendment to Hunting Seasons NOIs, Public Meeting Schedule Announced Again

Release Date: 03/14/2013

March 14, 2013 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted an amendment to the notice of intent for the 2013-14 WMA Hunting Seasons Rules and Regulations and the 2013 WMA Hunting Schedule at their March 7 meeting.

The amendment would provide for an experimental nighttime frogging season on Salvador-Timken Wildlife Management Area from June 1 to Aug. 15. If finally approved, after the public comment period, the experimental season would begin June 1, 2014. The daily limit would be 50 frogs per vessel and participants would be required to carry a valid Louisiana fishing license. For additional details on frogging, consult the 2013 Louisiana Fishing Regulations booklet, page 28.

To view the original notices of intent and amendments for upcoming hunting seasons, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Public comment can be submitted to Steve Smith, Wildlife Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email to ssmith@wlf.la.gov until May 2, 2013.

Proposed hunting season dates, general hunting regulations and WMA regulations will additionally be presented in nine public meetings as follows:

  • March 19 at 6 p.m., LDWF Minden Office, 9961 Hwy. 80, Minden
  • March 19 at 6 p.m., St. Tammany Parish Council Chambers, 21490 Koop Drive, Mandeville
  • March 20 at 6 p.m., LDWF Monroe Office, 368 CenturyLink Drive, Monroe
  • March 20 at 6 p.m., Chalmette Elem. School Resource Center, 75 East Chalmette Circle, Chalmette
  • March 21 at 6 p.m., USGS National Wetlands Research Center Conference Room, 646 Cajundome Blvd., Lafayette
  • March 26 at 6:30 p.m., LSU Ag Center, 7101 Gulf Highway, Lake Charles
  • March 27 at 6 p.m., Alexandria Convention Hall, 915 Third St., Alexandria
  • March 27 at 6 p.m., Houma Municipal Auditorium, 880 Verret St., Houma
  • March 28 at 6 p.m., Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 N. Flannery Road, Baton Rouge

For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359.

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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