LDWF News Release

Louisiana Recreational Red Snapper Season to Close December 31, 2014

Release Date: 12/18/2014


Louisiana Recreational Red Snapper Season to Close December 31, 2014
(Dec. 18, 2014) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the state recreational red snapper season will remain open through the rest of December and will close at 11:59 pm on December 31, 2014. Using real-time data from LA Creel, our recreational landings monitoring program, we have determined that Louisiana anglers have not yet landed our state’s historic and projected share of the total Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper harvest (14 percent, or 754,000 pounds). The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission previously opened a state waters season for red snapper to extend Louisiana’s season from the nine-day federal waters season originally proposed by NOAA. NOAA based this short season on imprecise estimates of recreational red snapper landings from their Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP); with LA Creel’s more precise estimates, Louisiana officials knew that nine days would not allow our anglers sufficient opportunity to catch their share.  
On January 1, 2014, the Department withdrew from MRIP and replaced it with LA Creel due to MRIP’s history of providing poor data and its inability to monitor landings in real-time. Had the Department accepted MRIP’s estimates and the subsequent nine-day season, Louisiana anglers would have only been able to land about 150,000 pounds of red snapper—far short of Louisiana’s historic landings. Through the extended state waters season, Louisiana anglers have landed about 605,000 pounds of red snapper to date, which is why the season can remain open through the rest of the year. Thanks to tremendous angler support of LA Creel and a recent saltwater license fee increase to continue to fund the program, the Department has the necessary tools to precisely monitor our recreational red snapper landings, flexibly manage the fishery, and maximize our anglers’ opportunities to fish red snapper.
The Department has continued negotiations with NOAA to recognize the validity of LA Creel and recently reached an agreement to “benchmark” LA Creel and officially establish it as a replacement for MRIP. Through the benchmarking process, the Department will run the MRIP survey side-by-side with LA Creel for the 2015 recreational fishing season. NOAA will compare the results from both surveys and adjust historic recreational landings estimates accordingly. Once LA Creel is benchmarked, Louisiana will no longer run MRIP, and officials hope that NOAA will support LA Creel and use its more precise results to conduct future stock assessments. This process paves the way for other Gulf states to adopt their own recreational angler survey programs, improves data collection, and helps move management of the recreational red snapper fishery forward.   
Beginning in January 2015, Louisiana anglers can expect to see an increased survey presence as Department personnel conduct both surveys statewide throughout the calendar year. “Our anglers have always been incredibly patient and helpful with our biologists, whether at the dock, over the phone, or via email,” said Department Secretary Robert Barham. “We ask for and greatly appreciate their continued cooperation as we take this important step in our quest towards regional management.” Secretary Barham recently testified on the benefits of Louisiana’s enhanced data collection in support of state management of red snapper during the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs hearing on H.R. 3099—the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act of 2013.
The Commission will determine Louisiana’s 2015 recreational red snapper season in their early 2015 meetings. For the latest updates on Commission meetings and actions, sign up for Department meeting alerts and/or news releases.
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 Rene LeBreton at rlebreton@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8745.

Four Men Found Harvesting Oysters in Closed Area

Release Date: 12/18/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested four men for alleged oyster harvesting violations on Dec. 16 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents arrested Alfredo De-Laoanaya, 21, of Houma, Francisco Maradingo-Ruiz, 34, of Houma, Esteban Morelos-Reyes, 60, of Houma, and Eliazar Martine-Macedo, 28, of Beaumont, Texas, for take oysters during a closed season on the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation and taking oysters during illegal hours.  The captain of the vessel, De-Laoanaya, was also cited for violating the log book and vessel sanitation requirements sanitation codes, improper running lights, and improper boat numbers.

On Dec. 16, LDWF agents were notified about someone harvesting oysters during a closed season off of the Sister Lake Seed Reservation.  Agents setup surveillance and observed a vessel in the open water of Sister Lake dredging for oysters.

Agents stopped the vessel shortly before 6 p.m. and found the four men in possession of 60 sacks of oysters.  Agents seized the vessel, two oyster dredges and returned the oysters to the water.  The men were booked into the Terrebonne Parish Jail.

The Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation is closed for the 2014/15 season.

Agents participating in this care are Sgt. Bryan Marie, Senior Agent Stephen Rhodes, Agent Ryan Breaux and Agent Lucas Hidalgo.

Taking oysters during illegal hours carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking oysters during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Having improper running lights and improper boat numbers carries up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail for each offense.  Violating the logbook sanitation code and vessel sanitation requirements each carries up to a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail for each offense.

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

Crab Trap Thief Sentenced in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 12/18/2014

On Dec. 16, a Marrero man pleaded guilty to commercial fishing violations committed in Plaquemines Parish.

Jessie Gainey, 45, pleaded guilty to his second offense of theft of crab traps in the 25th Judicial District Court of Plaquemines Parish.  Judge Michael Clement sentenced him to a fine of $250 plus court costs and a suspended jail term of six months.

Judge Clement also ordered Gainey to surrender his 2014 crab trap license.  Gainey is also prohibited of being on any commercial crab boat as a deckhand or captain and possessing a crab trap license until 2017.  He is also barred from selling crabs for the period of his license revocation.

The plea stems from an incident that occurred on July 9, 2014 when Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested Gainey for removing the contents of crab traps that were not owned by him, failing to mark crab traps and theft of crab traps.

Agents set up surveillance on a line of crab traps in Grandpa Bayou in Port Sulphur.  Agents watched Gainey run a line of crab traps and empty the contents into his vessel.  Agents found the traps in Gainey’s boat untagged, tags cut and some with Gainey’s commercial fisherman’s tag on top of another fisherman’s tag.

Robert White with District Attorney Charles Ballay’s office prosecuted the case.  LDWF Investigating agents were Sgt. Adam Young and Agent Travis Bartlett.

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

Access Road to Hope Canal Boat Launch on Maurepas Swamp WMA Reopened

Release Date: 12/17/2014

Dec. 17, 2014 -- The access road to the Hope Canal boat launch on Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area in St. John the Baptist Parish has reopened.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had closed the road Dec. 14 for bridge repairs.  Repairs to the bridge were completed by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

For more information, contact Christian Winslow at 985-543-4777 or cwinslow@wlf.la.gov.


LDWF Releases 2014 Managed Deer Hunt Results

Release Date: 12/17/2014

Dec. 17, 2014 -- Each year, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Wildlife Division schedules either-sex firearms deer hunts on many of the state Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).

These opportunities are greatly anticipated by many hunters across the state and out-of-state as well. The hunts provide time when deer hunters and their families can enjoy the outdoors and have the opportunity to harvest deer of either-sex.
Good hunter participation and ample opportunity continue to result in good harvest rates and hunter success, and this year was no different. This year 26,469 hunter efforts were tallied during the 37 managed hunts that provided opportunities. Richard K. Yancey, Fort Polk, Dewey W. Wills, Sherburne and Boeuf WMAs attracted the greatest numbers of hunters with Richard K. Yancey drawing 5,264.
The total deer harvest for the 37 hunts was 2,600 which included 1,323 bucks and 1,215 does.
Wildlife Division personnel were able to collect valuable data during these hunts which help them manage each WMA’s deer herd.  WMA hunter efforts were consistent with past years while having a slightly higher success rate.  To view the full list of WMAs and data collected, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/deer/seasons and scroll down to the Documents section.
WMAs are distributed across the state and within a reasonable drive from any location.  WMA habitats for these hunts range from upland hardwood and pine sites to bottomland hardwoods. To view a complete list of state WMAs, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma .
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Wildlife Management Area Program is charged with providing necessary habitats to manage and protect both game and non-game wildlife, as well as to provide quality outdoor recreation for the public.
For more information: visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, at www.facebook.com/ldwffb; on Twitter @LDWF; or by contacting Steve Smith at ssmith@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2359.


EGCP Joint Venture Releases a Communications Strategy: "A Burning Issue: Prescribed Fire and Fire-adapted Habitats of the East Gulf Coastal Plain"

Release Date: 12/17/2014

Dec. 17, 2014 -- The East Gulf Coastal Plain Joint Venture has released its prescribed fire communications strategy, entitled "A Burning Issue: Prescribed Fire and Fire-adapted Habitats of the East Gulf Coastal Plain."
Developed with input from more than 45 prescribed fire/resource management experts throughout the East Gulf Coastal Plain, as well as guidance from the EGCPJV staff and board, the Strategy focuses on policy, outreach and education goals that address current impediments to the use of prescribed fire.  A total of 30 prescribed fire messages designed to achieve those goals provide background and detailed supporting information to serve as a flexible foundation for future communications and initiatives.
“Prescribed fire is a priority conservation issue for the East Gulf Coastal Plain Joint Venture,” said board member Amity Bass of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, who led the prescribed fire subcommittee. “We see the Prescribed Fire Strategy ("A Burning Issue") as an important tool in guiding efforts to educate others about how critical prescribed fire is to the health and continued existence of our natural heritage in the Southeast -- so much of which is fire dependent.”
The EGCPJV's role in promoting prescribed fire will highlight fire’s ecological benefits to wildlife, specifically birds, and provide wildlife-focused education and outreach materials to key audiences.  The EGCPJV plans to begin implementation of several communications projects in the summer of 2015, including the development of a pocket guide to birds of fire maintained habitats in the South and a PowerPoint presentation to share with agencies and interested groups for their use in promoting awareness of this issue.
Almost all Southeastern upland systems, as well as some types of wetlands, have been shaped and maintained by periodic fire.  Decades of fire suppression have degraded these systems and have changed the human perception of fire and its role on our landscape.  Prescribed fire serves as a crucial management tool to restore and maintain these habitats, and its use is a critically important issue in the Southeast.  
For an Executive Summary that provides additional details, go to -- http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/louisiana-natural-heritage-program.
For more information, contact Amity Bass, LDWF Natural Heritage Program, ph. 225-765-2975 or abass@wlf.la.gov .


Mississippi Man Cited for Drowning Deer in Mississippi River

Release Date: 12/16/2014

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent cited a Mississippi man for allegedly drowning a deer in the Mississippi River in Concordia Parish on Dec. 11.

LDWF Sgt. Trey Mason cited David E. Hayes, 40, of Natchez, Miss., for not possessing non-resident basic hunting and big game hunting licenses, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements, hunting from a moving vessel and taking deer from a vessel while the deer was swimming.

Sgt. Mason was contacted by a witness who just observed a subject driving a boat in the Mississippi River on the Louisiana side approach a deer swimming in the river.  The witness then saw the operator of the vessel wrap a rope around the deer’s antlers and drown the deer.

Sgt. Mason arrived in the area and observed the vessel in the area matching the description gave from the top of a nearby levee.  From the levee, Sgt. Mason was able to look down into the vessel and identify an 8-point buck lying in front of the vessel.

Sgt. Mason then made contact with the subject and identified him as Hayes and observed that he was in possession of a dead wet deer with no apparent wounds.  After a brief interview, Hayes admitted to drowning the buck in the river on the Louisiana side.

Hunting from a moving vessel carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Taking deer from a vessel while the deer is swimming, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements and hunting without a non-resident basic hunting and big game hunting licenses each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each offense.  A civil restitution charge of $2,033 for the replacement value of the deer may also be imposed.

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


Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet

Release Date: 12/16/2014

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Special Meeting

John Tesvich, Chairman

Thursday, December 18, 2014, 1 p.m.

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



          I.    Roll Call and introduction of guests

          II.  Discuss proposed oyster lease moratorium legislation

          III. Adjourn



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.

To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3005461521653748225

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

To sign up for LDWF Alerts sent as text messages and emails directly to your mobile device 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.

Shrimp Season To Close in Portions of State Inside and Outside Waters

Release Date: 12/16/2014

December 22, 2014 shrimp season closure map

(Dec. 16, 2014) Today, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham announced a closure of the fall shrimp season in most state inside waters and in a portion of state outside waters effective Monday, Dec. 22, 2014 at official sunset.
Specifically, those waters that will close to shrimping include:

  • All state inside waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line except for the following waters located east of the Mississippi River:
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Chef Menteur and Rigolets Passes, Lake Borgne, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double-rig line in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2
  • The portion of state outside waters extending a distance of 3 nautical miles seaward of the inside/outside shrimp line from the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island as delineated by the Channel red buoy line westward to the western shore of Freshwater Bayou Canal at -92 degrees 18 minutes 33 seconds west longitude

The following state waters will remain open to shrimping until further notice:

  • Lake Pontchartrain, Chef Menteur and Rigolets Passes, Lake Borgne, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double-rig line in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2
  • All state outside waters east of the Atchafalaya River as well as all state outside waters west of Freshwater Bayou Canal
  • All fishery jurisdiction waters claimed by the state beyond the three nautical mile closure zone

For a map detailing today’s actions click here
Existing data do not currently support shrimping closures in additional state inside or outside waters. However, historic data suggest additional closures may be needed in the near future and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will continue monitoring shrimp populations in these waters.
Regulations state that the possession count on saltwater, white shrimp shall average no more than 100 (whole shrimp) count per pound, with the exception of October 15 through the third Monday in December, when there is no minimum count size.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission provided LDWF Secretary Robert Barham with authority to close both the fall inshore shrimp season and shrimping in the state’s territorial sea when biological and technical data indicate the need. Recent sampling conducted by the LDWF Fisheries biologists indicates that average white shrimp size in those waters to be closed is smaller than the minimum possession size limit. This action, which characteristically takes place at this time of year, is designed to protect small, white shrimp and provide opportunity for these populations to over-winter and grow to larger, more marketable sizes.
Louisiana continues to lead the country in shrimp landings. In 2013, approximately 5,300 licensed Louisiana commercial shrimpers landed 98.8 million pounds of shrimp (all species combined/heads-on weight) that had a dockside value of $178.3 million.
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/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
For more information, contact Martin Bourgeois (985) 594-4130 mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov. For press inquiries, contact Ashley Roth at aroth@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286 -4162.


Louisiana Hunters for the Hungry Give Back this Holiday Season

Release Date: 12/12/2014

Dec. 12, 2014 -- As the holidays approach and winter sets in, we are all reminded that this time of year is about giving back and showing goodwill toward others. The hunting community is no exception. Louisiana’s deer hunting season is in full swing, and hunters are heeding the call to give by donating part and sometimes all of their harvest to families in need this holiday season.
Hunters for the Hungry, founded in the 1990s by a group of well-meaning hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, is helping the hunting community route excess wild game to families who struggle with food security. Last year, the program provided nearly 40,000 pounds of protein that went directly to feed the hungry.
For families struggling with food access, protein can be the most expensive and hard to come by food source. That’s where hunters come in. This holiday season, Hunters for the Hungry is calling on the hunting community once again to help bring vital nutrients to those who need it most during the harsh, colder months of the year.
Hunters interested in donating part or all of their harvest after a day in the field can bring their field-dressed game to any processor in the Hunters for the Hungry network. To view the network of processors, visit www.hunters4hungrylouisiana.org.
Donated deer are processed at no cost to the hunter, and all donations are tax-deductible. Many hunters opt to keep the more desirable cuts of meat, such as the tenderloin and back strap, and then donate the rest of the deer to be ground and used in recipes like spaghetti, casseroles and sausage.
The donated protein is routed to area food banks and local charities that directly serve those in need. Around the holidays, food is never merely a matter of nutrition. Food is about family and belonging. The mission of Hunters for the Hungry is not only to help feed the hungry, but also to welcome those less fortunate into the extended family of the hunting community during the holidays.
To learn more about their work, visit Hunters for the Hungry online at www.hunters4hungrylouisiana.org, or call the Development office at 225-765-2860.

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