LDWF News

LDWF News Release

LDWF Completes Two Oyster Rehabilitation Projects in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes

Release Date: 12/07/2011

December 7, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recently completed two oyster rehabilitation projects, one within the public oyster seed grounds of Mississippi Sound and one within the public oyster seed grounds of California Bay, totaling $3.1 million in state and federal funds.  The state committed funds to these emergency restoration projects to aid in the recovery of areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.                     

This oyster reef rehabilitation process, known as cultch planting, provides clean, hard substrate for oyster larval attachment.  By placing appropriate cultch material on the water bottoms during times of oyster reproduction, successful settlement of young oysters is enhanced. 

Mississippi Sound Project

The project site is located on approximately 300 acres of scattered shell bottoms just southwest of Halfmoon Island in St. Bernard Parish.  It is in close proximity to a comparable project that occurred with great success in 2000 and in a location of documented use by the commercial oyster industry in years past for harvest. 

California Bay Project

The California Bay Project is located in Plaquemines Parish on a 300-acre site west of Pelican Island. 

The projects, which began in September, utilized more than 60,000 cubic yards of crushed concrete, limestone and oyster shell.

Biological monitoring of these projects is on-going to evaluate oyster recruitment and growth.  LDWF biologists perform dredge and quadrat sampling of the cultch planting projects at specified times in an effort to gather information on oyster abundance, size and mortality.  This information is crucial to determining the success of the project and informing efforts to open the area to commercial harvest in future years.

Click here to view a map with the locations of these projects.

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, please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225) 610-2363.

 

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Parking on Interstate and Highway Shoulders Prohibited

Release Date: 12/06/2011

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding hunters that parking on shoulders and grassy areas along interstates and highways are illegal and strictly prohibited.

The Louisiana State Police are aware of an increasing number of vehicles that are being parked on roadway shoulders and grassy areas, particularly on Interstate 10 between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, during hunting season. 

The shoulders of the road are designed for emergency stopping only.  The parked vehicles pose a threat to motorists when they re-enter or exit the road and can be a hazard to motorists stopping for emergencies. 

Louisiana State Police is committed to ensuring safety on highways and interstates.  Owners of vehicles parked in prohibited areas may face traffic citation fines and have their vehicles towed at their expense.

If any hazardous situation is observed, the public is urged to call Louisiana State Police at *LSP (*577) from a cell phone.

For more information, contact LDWF Spokesman Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov; or the Louisiana State Police Public Affairs Unit at 225-754-8524.

L.D.W.F. Receives Second Group of Whooping Cranes at White Lake W.C.A. as Part of Restoration Project

Release Date: 12/05/2011

Dec. 5, 2011– A second group of juvenile whooping cranes was delivered Dec. 1 to White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) in Gueydan as part of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) species’ restoration project in progress.

“Our biologists will continue their work to establish a non-migratory population of whooping cranes in coastal Louisiana to assist with this endangered species recovery effort,” said Robert Barham, LDWF Secretary.

Sixteen whooping cranes were flown to southwest Louisiana on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) aircraft from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. The White Lake location in Vermilion Parish is the site where 10 whooping cranes, the first cohort in the long-term restoration, were released in March. That group of birds marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

"This is an impressive project launched by the Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to bring the whooping crane back to this part of its historic range and marks a bold step for its ultimate recovery," said Cindy Dohner, USFWS Southeast Regional Director. "We are excited about their work and proud of our partnership with Secretary Barham and his agency as we continue working together to bring this majestic bird back to Louisiana."

LDWF continues to work cooperatively with USFWS, USGS, the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit  and the International Crane Foundation to bring the species back to the state. Project funding is derived from LDWF species restoration dedicated funds, federal grants and private/corporate donations.

"The USFWS Migratory Bird Program is honored to participate in the efforts of adding additional birds to the group of reintroduced wild whooping cranes to Louisiana." says Jerome Ford,  Assistant Director,Migratory Birds Program."Our pilot biologists werethrilled to contribute by using their Kodiak planes to ensure the whooping cranes’ safearrival."

The whooping cranes Louisiana receives are designated as a non-essential, experimental population (NEP) under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. This designation and its implementing regulation were developed to be more compatible with routine human activities in the reintroduction area.

Of the 10 cranes released in March from White Lake, three have survived and continue to be tracked by transmitter devices attached to each bird.  Two cranes were killed by predators, one was euthanized due to illness, two are missing and unaccounted for and two were shot and killed on Oct. 9 in Jefferson Davis Parish. LDWF Enforcement Division agents have charged two juveniles, who were alleged to have been involved with the two crane deaths on Oct. 9, with taking non-game birds/no season.

Hunters, fishermen and anyone who spends time in the marshes and rice fields of southwest Louisiana should welcome the opportunity to see these magnificent birds. Although whooping cranes in Louisiana are considered an “experimental, non-essential population” under the Endangered Species Act, they are still protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and cannot be pursued, harassed, captured or killed.

Waterfowl hunters should be accustomed to seeing large-bodied, white birds with black wing-tips, such as white ibis, white pelicans, and wood storks, which must be distinguished from the legally-hunted snow geese.  Mature whooping cranes are equally identifiable as they stand five feet tall and have a wingspan of 7-8 feet. Easily identifiable characteristics of whooping cranes in flight include black wing tips and fully extended neck and legs, which extend well beyond the tail. Standing whooping cranes also exhibit the bustle of rump feathers more pronounced than other large white birds.

Anyone witnessing suspicious activity involving whooping cranes is advised to report that information to LDWF’s Enforcement Division by calling 1-800-442-251 or using the tip411 program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge. CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender. 

For more information on the re-introduction of whooping cranes to Louisiana, please visit www.wlf.la.gov; or contact Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-7292. News media outlets interested in visiting the White Lake WCA facility can contact Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115. For photos, video footage and research documentation please visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.

Officials Initiate Process to Create Free Recreational Permit for Yellowfin Tuna

Release Date: 12/05/2011

December 5, 2011 – The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a notice of intent on the establishment of a free permit for recreational anglers who fish for yellowfin tuna. The information gathered from this permit would provide essential data about who fishes off Louisiana’s coast for yellowfin and how much is harvested each year.

“The current system is based upon data that is often old by the time it is in use,” said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “In order to better understand our fisheries resources so that we may better enjoy them, we need to collect information about how and what our anglers are fishing for in waters off Louisiana’s coast.”

The free permit, according to LDWF officials, will be designed with user input to make it as easy as possible for both recreational anglers and charter fishing boats to report their trips and their catch.

“We are designing this permit to be flexible, so that anglers aren’t frustrated by the process,” Pausina said. “Ultimately, the information gathered could mean anglers would have more opportunities to fish for highly migratory species like yellowfin tuna.”

The current management of yellowfin tuna involves not only LDWF, but also the federal government and international treaty agreements. Still, those management decisions are based upon limited data. Currently, only anglers who fish for Bluefin tuna are required to report what they catch (the limit is currently set at one fish per vessel per year).

Current management is also set for the entire Southeastern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, rather than specific seasons and limits for each fishery.

“The Gulf of Mexico is an absolutely incredible place to go fishing,” Pausina added. “We want to keep it that way by moving from a one-size-fits-all management style to one that allows us real-time data on these fish and on the efforts by recreational anglers.”

 Public comments on the Notice of Intent will be accepted until Thursday, February 2, 2012. Comments may be submitted to Joey Shepard, Office of Fisheries, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via e-mail at jshepard@wlf.la.gov.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant wildlife and fisheries 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, please contact Laura Wooderson at 225-610-2363 or lwooderson@wlf.la.gov.

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Vernon Parish Man Arrested For Over Limit Of Deer

Release Date: 12/05/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Pitkin man on Nov. 13 for alleged wildlife violations on the Kisatchie National Forest (KNF) in Vernon Parish.

Agents arrested Joseph K. Baggett, 45, for three counts of taking illegal deer during open season, three counts of possession of an illegally taken deer during open season, three counts of taking over limit of deer, failing to wear a hunter's orange cap and intentional littering.  Baggett was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail.

LDWF Enforcement Division Senior Agent Russell Brack began investigating Baggett after receiving a complaint from a concerned citizen on the morning of Nov. 12.

Brack made contact with Baggett and found that he had a six-point buck in his possession.  Brack also found that Baggett did not have a hunter’s orange cap in addition to his vest as required on public lands.  Baggett denied shooting at any antlerless deer at this time and he was cited and released for failing to wear a hunter's orange cap.

After further investigation, Brack and other LDWF agents were able to locate three dead doe deer located close to a deer stand that contained belongings with Baggett’s name.  Agents also found litter under the deer stand.  Agents again questioned Baggett on Nov. 13 about the three doe deer.  Baggett then admitted to agents to shooting several times at antlerless deer.  Agents seized a .243 Browning rifle for evidence.

Each count of taking an illegal deer during open season results in a fine between $500 and $750 and 15 to 30 days of jail.  Each count of possession of an illegally taken deer during open season brings a fine between $400 and $950 and up to 120 days in jail.  Each count of taking over limit of deer carries a fine between $250 and $500 and up to 90 days in jail.  Failing two wear the required hunter's orange cap brings a fine of $100 to $350 and up to 60 days in jail.  Intentional littering carries a fine of $250 and eight hours of community service in a litter abatement program.

Baggett is also responsible for paying civil restitution in the amount of $4,873.83 to LDWF for the illegally killed deer.

Lt. Bill Tyree and Sgt. Curt Belton assisted in the case.

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

Crab Task Force Meeting

Release Date: 12/02/2011

The Louisiana Crab Task Force will meet on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. in the Louisiana Room of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Building in Baton Rouge. 

The Crab Task Force is an industry group comprised of fishermen, soft crab shedders, and dealers and processors, as well as state and university representatives.  The task force, established by Act No. 57 of the 2001 regular legislative session, advises the LDWF and the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission on matters pertaining to the management and development of the Louisiana crab industry. 

Agenda items will include:  Winter 2012 Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program, MSC Certification, LA Seafood Marketing and Promotion Board efforts to promote LA Seafood, LA Wild Caught Seafood Certification Program, and Status of H-2B Labor Legislation.  Additionally, there will be a presentation by Dr. Jack Isaacs, LDWF Socio-Economist, on “Selected Trends in Blue Crab Harvesting, Processing, and Imports.”

EDITORS:  For more information, contact Carl Britt at 985-882-0027 or cbritt@wlf.la.gov.

 

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CORRECTION: Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to Meet in New Orleans

Release Date: 12/01/2011

December 1, 2011 – The next meeting of the Louisiana  Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will be held on WEDNESDAY, December 7 at  1 p.m. at their office located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in Suite 310.

The agenda is as follows:

I. Call to order

II. Adoption of Agenda

III. Reading and approval of minutes from September 28, 2011

IV. Presentation by John Fallon from Audubon Aquarium Institute

V. Board outreach and educational presentation by Jennifer Schaye and Daryl  Purpera with the State Auditor’s Office.

VI. Reports

   A. Executive Director’s Report

   B. Treasurer’s Report

   C. Finance Committee Report

   D. Sponsorship and Marketing Committee Report

VII. Old Business

    A. Brussels overview

    B. Policy and Procedure Workshop

        a. Marketing Committee’s  proposed protocol

     C. By laws

     D.Officer Election Protocol

VIII. New Business

     A. Hiring of Assistant Executive Director

     B. Officer Elections

IX. Set Next Meeting

X. Adjourn

This meeting is open to the public.

For more information please contact Ashley Roth at (504)286-8735 or ashley@louisianaseafood.com

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Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to Meet in New Orleans

Release Date: 12/01/2011

December 1, 2011 – The next meeting of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will be held on Tuesday, December 7 at 1 p.m. at their office located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in Suite 310.

The agenda is as follows:

I. Call to order

II. Adoption of Agenda

III. Reading and approval of minutes from September 28, 2011

IV. Presentation by John Fallon from Audubon Aquarium Institute

V. Board outreach and educational presentation by Jennifer Schaye and Daryl Purpera with the State Auditor’s Office.

VI. Reports

   A. Executive Director’s Report

   B. Treasurer’s Report

   C. Finance Committee Report

   D. Sponsorship and Marketing Committee Report

VII. Old Business

    A. Brussels overview

    B. Policy and Procedure Workshop

        a. Marketing Committee’s proposed protocol

     C. By laws

     D.Officer Election Protocol

VIII. New Business

     A. Hiring of Assistant Executive Director

     B. Officer Elections

IX. Set Next Meeting

X. Adjourn

This meeting is open to the public.

For more information please contact Ashley Roth at (504)286-8735 or ashley@louisianaseafood.com

 

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Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Takes Action to Close a Portion of Louisiana Offshore Territorial Waters to Shrimping

Release Date: 12/01/2011

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Takes Action to Close a Portion of Louisiana Offshore Territorial Waters to Shrimping

December 1, 2011 – At today’s meeting, The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced a shrimping closure in a portion of Louisiana offshore territorial (outside) waters on Tuesday, December 20 at sunset.  The action, which characteristically takes place at this time of year, is designed to protect small white shrimp and provide the opportunity for these populations to grow to larger, more marketable sizes.   

The closure includes the following areas:

The portion of state outside waters, south of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line as described in LA R.S. 56:495, from the western shore of Freshwater Bayou Canal at 92 degrees 18 minutes 33 seconds west longitude to the U.S. Coast Guard navigational light off the northwest shore of Caillou Boca at 29 degrees 03 minutes 10 seconds north latitude and 90 degrees 50 minutes 27 seconds west longitude.   This area lies within Terrebonne, St Mary, Iberia and Vermilion parishes.

All state outside waters east of the U.S. Coast Guard navigational light off the northwest shore of Caillou Boca as well as state outside waters west of Freshwater Bayou Canal will remain open to shrimping until further notice. 

Current regulations state that the possession count on saltwater white shrimp shall average no more than 100 (whole shrimp) count per pound except during the time period from October 15 through the third Monday in December when there shall be no count. 

Current sampling conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries indicates that average white shrimp size in this portion of state outside waters is slightly larger than 100 count per pound; however, historical data indicate that significant numbers of smaller size white shrimp occupying coastal lakes and bays migrate into these waters as temperatures drop with the onset of winter.  This action protects these small white shrimp and provides increased opportunity for growth to larger, more valuable sizes.

The shrimping industry is one of the most valuable commercial fisheries in Louisiana with over 8,700 licensed recreational and commercial shrimpers participating annually, according to a five-year estimate. 

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, please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225) 610-2363.

 

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Evangeline Parish Man Sentenced In Federal Court for Baited Field

Release Date: 12/01/2011

 

An Evangeline Parish man was sentenced on Nov. 29, 2011 in U.S. Court in Lafayette for migratory game bird violations.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Hanna sentenced Jody D. Fontenot, 42, of Ville Platte to pay a $550 fine, complete 50 hours of community service and one-year suspension of his hunting rights or until his 50 hours of community service was complete.  Fontenot pleaded guilty to hunting doves over a baited field and aiding and abetting others in taking doves over a baited field.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited Fontenot in September of 2011 after receiving a complaint about a baited field near Jean Pierre Road in Evangeline Parish.

Agents went to the field on Sept. 3, 2011 and located rice that was distributed throughout the field.  Agents went back to the baited field owned by Fontenot on Sept. 4 and found the field being hunted by three adults and six juveniles including Fontenot.

Fontenot was found to be responsible for the placement of the bait.  Agents seized a total of 32 doves in the case.

U.S. Assistant District Attorney Howard Parker prosecuted the case.  Agents involved in the case were Lt. Jesse Savoie, Sgt. Scott D. Fontenot, Sgt. Keith Aucoin and Senior Agent Danon Maricle.

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

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