LDWF News Release

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Sets Fall Shrimp Season

Release Date: 08/07/2014

Fall Shrimp Season

Aug. 7, 2014 – Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced the 2014 fall inshore shrimp season opening dates.
The season will open as follows:
One-half hour before sunrise -  Monday, August 18 - inside waters from the western shore of the Atchafalaya River and the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line
6 p.m., Monday, August 18 – state inside waters east of the Atchafalaya River
For a map detailing today’s actions click here:
The Commission set the season based on recommendations presented by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments from the public. However, certain areas are still closed to commercial fishing and certain recreational fishing activities due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Maps of the areas that remain closed to recreational and commercial fishing are posted to the LDWF website at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill.
Preliminary Louisiana shrimp landings statistics provided by NOAA Fisheries Service indicate that approximately 17.7 million pounds of shrimp (all species combined/heads-off weight) were landed in Louisiana from January through June, 2014.
Tow Time Regulations Reminder
Federal Turtle Excluder Device (TED) regulations require skimmer net fishermen to limit tow times.  Maximum tow times are 55 minutes from April 1 to October 31 and increase to 75 minutes from November 1 to March 31.
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, contact Martin Bourgeois at (985) 594-4130 or mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov. For press inquiries, contact Ashley Roth at 504-286-4162 or aroth@wlf.la.gov


Women Perfect Fishing Skills at Tag Louisiana Workshops

Release Date: 08/06/2014

Women’s Fish Tagging Workshop participants receive hands-on instructions on cleaning speckled trout.
A participant reels in a big one while fishing during the Women’s Fish Tagging Workshop.

(Aug. 6, 2014) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recently hosted two Women’s Fish Tagging Workshops at the Grand Isle Fisheries Research Lab where 25 women perfected their angling skills under the supervision and with the assistance of experienced LDWF staff.
The program consists of a one-day workshop where angling and fish tagging techniques are taught to women, 18 and older, who may lack either the opportunity or confidence to learn these skills.  Every participant leaves the workshop as a more knowledgeable, independent angler. 
Participants were chosen by a lottery drawing  and were required to have previously attended a one-day introductory workshop at the Gonzales Cabela’s in the spring. 
The ladies began their weekend learning to rig and bait their own rod and reel, compliments of CCA Louisiana.  LDWF biologists led inshore fishing trips, providing a hands-on opportunity for the participants to utilize the skills previously learned.   Additional activities included fish cleaning, cooking fish, fish ageing and a tour of research facilities at the lab.
The Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program, implemented by LDWF in conjunction with CCA Louisiana, aims to improve understanding of marine fish movements, habitat preferences and population size.  The program provides interested volunteer anglers with free, saltwater fish tagging kits and focuses on several popular game fish species including redfish, speckled trout, red snapper and yellowfin tuna.  Reports of recaptures are sent to the volunteer tagger, providing details on the distance traveled and growth of the fish.
Several of these dedicated “citizen scientists” tag well over 100 fish in the course of a year.
The next workshop is scheduled for Spring 2015.  For more information on this program or the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program, visit www.TagLouisiana.com , www.facebook.com/Tag.Louisiana or contact Heather David at (225) 763-5415 or hdavid@wlf.la.gov.
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, on Instagram @WLFLA, or on Twitter @LDWF.
For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8733.



Hunter Education Reminder

Release Date: 08/05/2014

Aug. 5, 2014 -- As hunters begin to prepare for the 2014-15 hunting season, one thing they should not overlook is hunter education.  In the rush to prepare for the hunting season, hunters sometimes overlook the hunter education requirements and find themselves struggling to schedule a class at the last minute.
Hunters who have not completed hunter education should review the requirements for Louisiana and any other states where they plan to hunt.  Now is the time to register for a class and avoid the last minute rush.
Louisiana law requires that hunters born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, obtain Hunter Education Certification prior to hunting in Louisiana, unless they are under direct supervision of a qualified person.  A qualified person is someone who is a licensed hunter and was born before Sept. 1, 1969, or a person who is 18 years of age or older and has proof of Hunter Education Certification.  Direct supervision means the supervising person is in direct line of sight and within normal voice contact of the hunter they are supervising.
The minimum age for Hunter Education Certification in Louisiana is 10 years old.  However, it is a requirement that 10 and 11-year-olds must be supervised while hunting, even if they have received Hunter Education Certification.
States have differing hunter education requirements, so hunters planning trips to other states should check the hunter education requirements of their destination state well in advance of their trip.  For instance, hunters traveling to Colorado must have hunter education certification if they were born on or after Jan. 1, 1949.   The Louisiana Hunter Education Certification is honored in all states and Canadian provinces.
The Louisiana Hunter Education Certification course is offered in two formats.  The first is a 10-hour classroom format that is usually held over 2-3 days.  The second format, recommended only for students 14 years of age and older, is a home-study format that consists of two parts: an online class that can be taken at the student’s own pace, followed by a 5-hour field day class. Both formats, classroom and home-study, cover firearm and hunting safety, wildlife management principals, ethics, game identification and outdoor survival.  Students must successfully complete a live-fire exercise with either format.
There is no fee for the hunter education classroom format.  However, there is a $15 fee to take the online class portion of the home-study format and the fee is paid when the student successfully completes the online class.   
Students choosing the home-study format must successfully complete the online class before attending a field day class and successfully complete both parts in order to receive their Hunter Education Certification.  There is a common misconception that the field day class only involves the live-fire exercise.  However, that is only part of the class which also includes hands-on instruction and review of the online material.
Hunters who have already received Hunter Education Certification should check to be sure they still have their certification card and should carry it with their hunting license while they are hunting.  Hunter Education Certification does not expire and is good for a hunter’s lifetime.  Duplicate cards can be requested through the department’s website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/hunter-education and the hunter will need to enter their name exactly as it appears on their card, their date of birth, and the zip code that appeared on their last card.  Duplicate cards can also be requested by calling 225-765-2932.
To register for a Hunter Education Certification course, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/hunter-education .  From the website, hunters will be able to register for a classroom course, access the online class and register for a field day class.
For more information, contact Fred Kimmel at 225-765-2355 or fkimmel@wlf.la.gov .


L.D.W.F. Accepting Applications for Wildlife Management Area Lottery Hunts

Release Date: 08/05/2014

Aug. 5, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for lottery hunts to be held on several Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) this upcoming hunting season.

LDWF is sponsoring the hunts to provide a quality outdoor experience for various hunters.  Disabled veterans, youth and physically challenged hunters, as well as the general public can apply for WMA hunting opportunities including deer, duck and squirrel.

The WMAs offering these hunts include: Bayou Pierre, Buckhorn, Camp Beauregard, Dewey Wills, Floy McElroy, Richard K. Yancey, Sabine, Sherburne and Ouachita.

Successful applicants will be selected by a randomized computer drawing.  Applications for the lottery must be submitted to LDWF before close of business on the date listed on the application. Rules and regulations pertaining to the hunts are also included on the application. A $5 administrative fee must be submitted with each application.

Applications and more information may be obtained by contacting your local LDWF field office or by visiting the LDWF Web site at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts. The applications for Bayou Pierre WMA lottery hunts will be available Aug. 8.

Applications may be delivered in person to Room 442 of the LDWF Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Dr. in Baton Rouge or by mail.  The mailing address is: Wildlife Division WMA Lottery Hunts, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000.

For more information, contact Steve Smith at ssmith@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2359 or 318-487-5885.


Agenda for August LWF Commission Meeting - Baton Rouge

Release Date: 08/04/2014

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, August 7, 2014, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA
The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call
2.  Approval of Minutes of July 3, 2014
3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
4.  Recognize Chevron for social responsibility support of Whooping Crane reintroduction
5.  Recognize Recreation Trails Program Achievement Award
6.  To Hear Enforcement Reports July 2014
7.  To Hear Notice of the Secretary Reopening Certain Waters previously closed to Commercial Fishing and Certain Recreational Fishing as a result of the DWH Oil Spill (No Commission action required)
8.  To Consider a Declaration of Emergency for setting the Opening Dates of the 2014 Fall Inshore Shrimp Season
9.  To Hear a Report on Calcasieu Lake Oyster Resource
10.  To Consider a Declaration of Emergency for the 2014-2015 Oyster Season Dates and Harvest Limits for the Public Oyster Areas of Louisiana
11.  To Hear an Inland Fisheries Update Report
12.  To Consider an Amendment and Hear Final Public Comments on the Port Eads Possession Limit NOI
13.  To Consider A Declaration of Emergency for the 2014-2015 Waterfowl Season Dates
14.  To Consider a Notice of Intent to Amend the Rules and Regulations Governing the Possession of Potentially Dangerous Quadrupeds - Big Exotic Cats to conform the rules to Act 697 of the 2014 Regular Session of the Legislature
15.  Set December 2014 Meeting Date
16.  Receive Public Comments
17.  Adjournment
To listen to the meeting live via webinar, register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7849643668592657153


LDWF Agents Arrest Golden Meadow Man on Drug Charges

Release Date: 08/04/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Golden Meadow man for alleged drug violations on July 31 in Lafourche Parish.

Agents arrested Nick A. Collins, 42, for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm while in possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Agents booked Collins into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Facility.

Agents boarded Collins’ oyster vessel to perform a commercial fishing compliance check.  Agents observed a firearm located within the cabin of the vessel where Collins was operating the vessel.  After checking with dispatch and learning of a previous felony conviction, agents got permission to search the vessel for any further contraband.

While searching the vessel agents located an additional firearm along with a metal container containing suspected marijuana, several hand rolled cigarettes containing suspected marijuana, two grinders, one mini scale, scissors, and several plastic bags under the mattress where Collins slept.  After speaking with agents, Collins admitted that all contraband on the vessel was his.

Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute brings up to a $50,000 fine and between five and 30 years of prison.  Possession of a firearm while in possession of marijuana carries up to a $10,000 fine and between five and 10 years of prison.  Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon brings a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and 10 to 20 years of prison.  Possession of drug paraphernalia carries up to a $1,000 fine and one year of jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Ezekiel Talbert Jr. and Agent Lucas Hidalgo.

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

Aug. 12-14 Public Meetings to Provide Update on Black Bear Research

Release Date: 08/04/2014

Aug. 4, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the University of Tennessee (UT) will hold public meetings from Aug. 12 through 14 in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Ferriday and Tallulah. The results of a recently completed University of Tennessee PhD project will be presented.
Meeting times and locations are as follows:
Aug. 12 at 10 a.m.    LDWF HQ LA Room                        2000 Quail Dr., Baton Rouge
Aug. 12 at 6 p.m.      USFWS Building                             646 Cajundome Blvd., Lafayette
Aug. 13 at 6 p.m.      Concordia Community Center      26356 Hwy 15, Ferriday
Aug. 14 at 6 p.m.      Tallulah Community Center          800 Beech St, Tallulah
PhD candidate Jared Laufenberg will present his project results entitled “Population dynamics and genetic structure of the Louisiana black bears in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley of Louisiana.”  Before delisting can occur, bear subpopulations in Tensas and Atchafalaya river basins have to be sustainable with a corridor to connect those two sustainable subpopulations.  This research addresses those questions.  
Following the presentation, there will be a question and answer period to allow for general discussion about bears in Louisiana and living with bears.  For more information, contact Maria Davidson at 337-948-0255 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov.
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.



Louisiana Fisheries Forward Educational and Training Program Unveiled

Release Date: 08/04/2014

A partnership between Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Louisiana Sea Grant College Program aims to further raise the bar on the quality and sustainability of Louisiana seafood.
August 04, 2014 - Louisiana Fisheries Forward (LFF) is a voluntary educational program for members of the commercial seafood community.  A collaboration of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Louisiana Sea Grant College Program at LSU (Sea Grant), LFF was established with the goal of improving the economic success of Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry.
LFF provides a structured mechanism to develop and deliver, over a three-year period, relevant and timely information to the seafood industry.  Content is presented via the Internet, using training videos and fact sheets, and directly to communities with hands-on workshops, training days and demonstration projects that showcase new technology and best practice methods.
“Louisiana Fisheries Forward is about establishing a method to communicate important information to our commercial seafood community,” said Robert Barham, secretary, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  “This communication will help our fishermen, dealers and processors stay abreast of global trends, new equipment, handling practices, technology and rapidly evolving regulations.  This program will help our seasoned veterans as well as newcomers to the industry improve their already high-quality Louisiana seafood, and help them take their product to the next level.”
Robert Twilley, Ph.D., executive director of Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, concurs, “Louisiana is the second largest seafood-producing state in the U.S., yet the commerce and culture of our industry is at risk.  We believe the time is here for a fisheries renaissance, as more and more consumers look for locally sourced and sustainably managed seafood.  Louisiana is already well positioned to meet that demand.  Working together, we can enhance product quality, promote innovative business practices, and reduce our environmental footprint to ensure the continued success of commercial fishing.”
Though officially unveiled today, Louisiana Fisheries Forward initiatives are already in motion.  LFF enhances the current outreach programs of Sea Grant, including the two-day Fisheries Summit in Houma and Dock Days along the coast.  Working with LDWF and seafood industry leaders, these training days present a wider range of diverse and challenging topics and reach a greater number of people. 
Four, 30- to 45-minute training videos are in production, that address:

  • How to be a commercial fisherman
  • How to be a seafood dealer/processor
  • Seafood business finance and management
  • How to be a crab fisherman

Another six videos are planned over the next two-and-a-half years.  Fact sheets, available online, will complement the videos with more detailed, time-sensitive information.  Three demonstration projects, over the course of three years, will study gear efficiency and product quality; research findings will be presented at training and industry events.
Leaders at LDWF and Sea Grant are confident that the Louisiana Fisheries Forward program will help those in the seafood business thrive in a constantly changing marketplace.
“Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Louisiana Sea Grant have a successful, 45-year history of developing targeted educational programs for the seafood industry,” said Twilley.  “This partnership marshals the strength of community-embedded marine extension agents with the subject matter expertise of university scientists and fisheries resource managers.  Together, these experts pinpoint timely and challenging issues facing our industry and more importantly, offer options and solutions that overcome those issues.”
Barham believes that offering our seafood community the knowledge to compete in the marketplace is the key. 
“To be successful, our harvesters, docks and processors need the proper knowledge to compete in the marketplace, we have an opportunity to help provide this to our industry.  We have already begun a successful branding initiative of Louisiana Wild Certified Seafood; Louisiana Fisheries Forward is an extension of that effort—helping our seafood industry increase consumer confidence and receive a premium price for their catch.”
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 press inquiries, contact Ashley Roth at aroth@wlf.la.gov or 504-286-4162
Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant (www.laseagrant.org) has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at Louisiana State University, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 33 university-based programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico.



Louisiana Inshore Shrimp Season Remains Closed

Release Date: 08/01/2014

August 1, 2014 – Yesterday, officials with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries annouced the re-opening of certain state inshore and Gulf of Mexico waters that were previously closed due to oiling from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Although these waters will re-open ½ hour before sunrise on Monday, August 4, 2014, state rules, regulations and seasons for individual saltwater species are still effective within these areas. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will meet August 7 to consider opening dates for the fall inshore shrimp season.
Shrimp harvesting remains closed in state inside waters except the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double–rig line in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2. and in the portion of Mississippi Sound as follows:

  • that portion of Mississippi Sound beginning at a point on the Louisiana-Mississippi Lateral Boundary at 30 degrees 09 minutes 39.6 seconds north latitude and -89 degrees 30 minutes 00.0 seconds west longitude due south to a point at 30 degrees 05 minutes 00.0 seconds north latitude and -89 degrees 30 minutes 00.0 seconds west longitude; thence southeasterly to a point on the western shore of Three-Mile Pass at 30 degrees 03 minutes 00.0 seconds north latitude and -89 degrees 22 minutes 23.0 seconds west longitude; thence northeasterly to a point on Isle Au Pitre at 30 degrees 09 minutes 20.5 seconds north latitude and -89 degrees 11 minutes 15.5 seconds west longitude, which is a point on the double–rig line.

For a map that details the areas currently open to shrimp harvesting click here.

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 inquiries, contact Ashley Roth at 504-286-4162 or aroth@wlf.la.gov

All Target Ranges on Sherburne Wildlife Management Area Now Open

Release Date: 08/01/2014

August 1, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today that installation of baffles on the rifle range at the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) has been completed and the range is now open. 
Installation of the baffles was the final phase of the rifle range improvements that also involved the replacement of the overhead cover which was damaged by the opening of the Morganza Spillway. Installation of the baffles will improve range safety by ensuring that projectiles are contained within the range. 
All ranges on the Sherburne WMA are now open including two shotgun ranges, a handgun range, rifle range and archery range.
All range users are reminded that they are required to obtain and complete a self-clearing permit at the range. In addition, users 16 to 60 years of age must have a valid Louisiana hunting license, fishing license or Wild Louisiana Stamp in their possession while on the range. 
Sherburne WMA is located within the Morganza Floodway portion of the Atchafalaya Basin, between the Atchafalaya River and the East Protection Levee, in Pointe Coupee, St. Martin and Iberville Parishes.  The WMA is accessible from U.S. Hwy. 190 and I-10.
For additional information on shooting ranges on state wildlife management areas, visit www.wlf.la.gov/hunting/shooting-ranges, or contact Daniel Hurdle at 225-765-2920 or dhurdle@wlf.la.gov .

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