LDWF News Release

Construction to begin this week on the “Pickets Reef”

Release Date: 10/16/2014

SS26 Pickets Platform

(Oct. 16, 2014) - Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, Apache Corporation, Fieldwood Energy and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will begin construction this week on an artificial reef system at the site of the recently removed structures in Ship Shoal 26, known by many Louisiana anglers as “the Pickets.” A dedication ceremony and media site visit will be conducted at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, at Coco Marina in Cocodrie, La.   
This cooperative effort calls for the deployment of roughly 14,000 tons of 4-inch limestone over three specially engineered artificial reefs.  The reefs will be designed to protect depressions in the seafloor that were created by the prevailing current flowing around and through the Pickets. In doing so, the reefs will maintain and enhance these scour holes, while providing additional habitat for marine life.
“This area has served as a trout fishing haven for many years, and we are extremely pleased that we are able to preserve this angling hot spot,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  "Speckled trout and redfish are typically associated with low- to mid-relief structures which provide a refuge from currents, where they can remain without expending energy while preying on food as it is carried across the structure. This makes this area a particularly important fisheries habitat.”
“There are many trout fishermen in this state who have fond memories of the Pickets," said David Cresson, executive director of Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana (CCA Louisiana.) “It’s unfortunate that we have to say goodbye to those structures, but we are grateful to have partners here who were committed to doing everything they could to maintain the area for future generations. The Pickets has been a special place, and this partnership is working to make sure it stays that way.”
Fieldwood acquired Apache's Gulf of Mexico shelf assets in 2013, including the Pickets structures and pilings located at Ship Shoal 26. As part of the acquisition, Fieldwood entered into a decommissioning agreement with Apache and is responsible for making sure the removal work at Ship Shoal 26, which is required by the federal government, is completed. From the outset, both companies understood the significance of the iconic structures and were committed to mitigating the impact of the removals on the fishery and the recreational angling community.
Obie O'Brien, vice president of Governmental Affairs for Apache Corporation, said, "Apache has operated in South Louisiana and in the Gulf of Mexico for decades. Hundreds of our employees and former employees live, work and raise their families along the coast. We were happy to be part of this effort to preserve, protect and enhance one of the iconic fishing spots in Louisiana. We understand the need for a strong and diverse environment because we live it every day."
John Seeger, Fieldwood's vice president of Decommissioning, noted, "The Pickets is an area that residents of Louisiana and Texas—including many of our employees at Fieldwood—have fished for decades. We are required by federal law to remove the structures but wanted to come up with a solution that would preserve this renowned fishing area for generations to come."
The $1.2 million project is being funded by Apache, Fieldwood, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Artificial Reef Trust Fund, and CCA’s Building Conservation Trust. The contractor for construction of the reefs, DLS Energy, and the company providing the materials for the reefs, G & H Barge, are providing significant in-kind services and materials for the project. Continuing support of CCA Louisiana’s Habitat Program is provided by the Paul Candies family.
The Pickets Reef is the 10th reef of its kind to be funded through the Louisiana Artificial Reef Trust fund in cooperation with CCA Louisiana.  Overall, this is the 14th reef built by CCA Louisiana since 2004.
“This project is a great example of industry, nonprofits and government coming together to create a positive outcome for our coast,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “Our thanks goes out to Apache, Fieldwood, CCA and all of our partners for working with us to find a solution to this challenging issue.”
“This had the potential to be a sad ending to a storied fishing spot, but now we have a tremendous amount of hard structure going in to replace habitat that is required to be removed,” said John Walther, chairman of CCA Louisiana's Habitat Committee. “This is the best outcome that could be achieved, and Apache and Fieldwood should be commended. They didn't have to go the extra mile, but both companies wanted to make this right from the beginning and they certainly stepped up. We hope this can be a template for addressing marine habitat that stands to be lost due to the Idle Iron Policy.”
Marker buoys will be placed on the site after construction is completed so that anglers can locate the reefs.
After a short presentation at the Coco Marina at 10 a.m., Tuesday, members of the media will be taken by boat to the reef construction site.  Project organizers and partners will be available to the media throughout the event.
For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey, awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.

Fraudulent Shrimp Sales Lands Rayne Man in Jail

Release Date: 10/15/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Rayne man for alleged fraudulent shrimp sales in on Oct. 14.

Agents arrested Shannon J. Roche, 37, for four counts of theft by fraudulent shrimp sales and for failing to maintain records in Acadia and Jefferson Davis parishes.

Agents received complaints from three victims in Jefferson Davis Parish and one victim in Acadia Parish.  Agents investigated each complaint and determined that Roche sold shrimp to these consumers whom did not receive the correct amount of shrimp.  LDWF agents booked Roche into the Acadia Parish Jail.

Fraudulent shrimp sales brings a up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail for each count.  Failing to maintain records brings up to a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each count.

Agents arrested Roche on similar charges on Feb. 26 earlier this year in Lafayette Parish.

Sgt. Justin Sonnier and Senior Agent Donald Murray are investigating this case.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Agents Cite Deville Man for Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 10/14/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Deville man for alleged deer hunting violations on Oct. 11 in Bienville Parish.

Agents cited Paul D. Deville, 58, for taking spotted fawns, possessing over the limit of deer, failing to maintain the deer’s sex identification and failing to comply with deer tagging or harvest record regulations.

Agents received a complaint that a man had taken three deer two of which were spotted fawns.  Agents responded at the location and found Deville in possession of three deer.

Deville kept the head of a mature antlerless deer for sex identification, but hid other parts from the other two deer in a wooded area behind the camp.  Agents located the heads and hides of all three deer and were able to identify two of the deer as spotted fawns.  Agents found that Deville did not tag any of the deer.

Agents seized all three deer and three of Deville’s antlerless deer tags.

Taking spotted fawns brings a $500 to $750 fine and 15 to 30 days in jail.  Possessing over the legal limit of deer and failing to maintain the sex identification of the deer carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Failing to comply with deer tagging regulations brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Mike Kelley, Sgt. Chuck Dison and Senior Agent Bryant Coburn.

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

Oyster Season Delayed in Portion of Public Seed Grounds

Release Date: 10/14/2014

October 14, 2014 The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has delayed the oyster season in a portion of the public oyster seed grounds until further notice in an effort to protect recently settled young oysters referred to as spat. 

The delay includes that area of the public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, including Lake Borgne and Mississippi Sound.  The oyster season was originally set to open in this area on October 20.  Protection of the oyster spat is in the long-term best interest of oyster conservation in this area of the public oyster seed grounds as they represent the future oyster resource in an area where oyster stocks continue to be low and spatfall has remained below normal.

The Commission authorized LDWF Secretary Robert J. Barham to take emergency action to close areas, on an as-needed basis, based on biological data or if enforcement problems are encountered.  The Secretary was also authorized to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open areas if substantial oyster resources are located. 

Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

To view a map detailing today's action 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


Two Terrebonne Parish Men Pleaded Guilty to Oyster Violations

Release Date: 10/13/2014

Two Terrebonne Parish men were sentenced in Division A of Terrebonne Parish Court for illegal oyster fishing violations on Oct. 8.

Fernando Carbajal, 39, of Houma, and Jonathan Reyes, 25, of Houma, both entered a guilty plea before 32th Judicial District Court Judge George Lark for one count of taking oysters from an unapproved area in Sevin Canal in Terrebonne Parish on June 26, 2014.

Judge Lark sentenced both men to pay a $950 fine, serve 120 days jail time suspended upon paying fines, revoked their oyster harvester license privileges for one year, serve 40 hours of community service in the litter abatement program and both men cannot harvest oysters for a period of one year unless the vessel is equipped with a vessel monitoring device.  Both men were also put on active probation for six months.

Assistant District Attorney Barry Vice prosecuted the case.  Participating in the investigation were Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division Sgts. Bryan Marie and Richard Purvis and Agent Richard Bean.

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

White Lake W.C.A. 2014 Teal Season Hunting Report

Release Date: 10/07/2014

White Lake W.C.A. 2014 Teal Season Hunting Report
White Lake W.C.A. 2014 Teal Season Hunting Report

Oct. 7, 2014 – White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WLWCA) teal season lottery hunters enjoyed productive hunts over nine dates in September.
“For years, White Lake WCA has offered various types of lottery waterfowl hunting opportunities and teal season participants this year averaged four ducks per effort,” said Wayne Sweeney, WLWCA’s hunt coordinator. “That success was attained even though overall teal numbers in coastal Louisiana were down from the long-term average.”
Six hunters were randomly selected for each lottery spots and each selected hunter was allowed to bring one guest on the hunt. The results for the 105 hunters were as follows:

Marsh and Rice Field Lottery Waterfowl hunt applications for the 2014-15 hunting season are still available via the Department’s web site through Oct. 15, 2014: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/lottery-applications .
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) manages WLWCA for a variety of aquatic and wildlife species, but the habitat is especially attractive to waterfowl and wading bird species.
The 71,000-acre WCA in Vermilion Parish, south of Gueydan, requires a managed hydrology to provide a consistent wetland environment for species native to southwest Louisiana. Management of this property includes creating and maintaining sufficient habitat, while also ensuring abundant refuge areas. These management strategies provide substantial wintering waterfowl habitat which enhances hunting opportunities throughout the area.
For more information, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-536-9400, ext. 1, or wsweeney@wlf.la.gov; or Schuyler Dartez at 337-536-9400, ext. 2, or sdartez@wlf.la.gov.


$7,000 Reward Offered for Information on Dead Black Bear

Release Date: 10/06/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are seeking leads in the illegal killing of a black bear in Concordia Parish.

A reward of up to $7,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.  The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering $5,000, LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program up to $1,000, and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation another $1,000.

A fisherman found the bear, badly decomposed, on Sept. 1 in the Atchafalaya River. The bear was a part of LDWF’s Black Bear Restoration Program and was radio collared over the past year to track the animal’s movements. The bear was normally tracked in the Turnbull Island area of Concordia Parish.

At this time, agents believe that the approximately four-year-old female bear was killed in Concordia Parish and thrown in the river, where her body then floated downstream.

The Louisiana black bear has been listed on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List since 1992. Residents are reminded that killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $50,000 and six months in jail. In addition, a restitution fine of $10,000 for the animal may be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.

Anyone with information regarding this illegal bear killing should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF's tip411 program. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android app from the Apple App Store or Google Play free of charge.

The hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day. Tipsters can also remain anonymous.

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

Body of Houma Man Recovered Following Boating Incident in St. Mary Parish

Release Date: 10/06/2014

The body of a Houma man was recovered from the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Mary Parish this morning, Oct. 6, by search and rescue officials.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division (LDWF) agents and St. Mary Sheriff’s Office (SMSO) deputies found the body of Wallace Bailey Jr., 38, at approximately 6:30 a.m. after searching throughout the night.

Officials were notified at 9 a.m. about a boating incident in in the Intracoastal Waterway near the intersection of Bayou Boeuf.

According to witnesses, Wallace Bailey Jr. was operating a small aluminum skiff with a hand tiller steering motor with his father Wallace Bailey Sr., 64, of Morgan City, as the passenger.  The skiff crossed a wake and quickly turned ejecting both men into the water and sinking the vessel.

Witnesses were able to pull Bailey Sr. from the water and Bailey Jr. sank below the water and didn’t resurface.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this incident.  Neither man was wearing a personal flotation device.  Bailey Jr’s body was turned over to the St. Mary Parish Coroner’s Office.

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

LDWF Enforcement Agent Recognized at October Commission Meeting

Release Date: 10/03/2014

Senior Agent Wolf and Shikar-Safari Rep. Chris Kinsey

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent was honored at the Oct. 2 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting held in Baton Rouge.

Shikar-Safari Club International presented their Officer of the Year award for Louisiana to LDWF Senior Agent Thomas Wolf, of Houma.  The Shikar-Safari award recognizes an agent from each state for outstanding efforts in conservation law enforcement.

“Senior Agent Wolf deserves all the accolades for being such a fine conservation agent for the department,” said Col. Joey Broussard.  “He does an excellent job of using his knowledge, tips from the public and experience when making decisions in the field on difficult cases.  He is also a very dependable agent who always ranks amongst the highest each year in case load.”

Wolf has been an LDWF agent for five years and mainly patrols Terrebonne Parish.  Wolf also received the LDWF Enforcement Division’s “2014 Agent of the Year” award. 

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

Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board to Meet

Release Date: 10/03/2014

Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board to Meet

10:00 a.m., Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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

New Orleans 70122


1.     Roll Call of Board Members

2.     Approval of Minutes from January 7, 2014 Meeting

3.     Hearing of New Renewal Permit Appeals

        a.  Derek Green

4.     Update on Recommendation Made at January 7, 2014 Meeting

5.     Receive Public Comments

6.     Set next meeting date

7.     Adjournment

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

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend.

Those interested in listening to the meeting via Webinar or telephone may register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4784161271396303873

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 Ty Lindsey at 225-765-2387 or tlindsey@wlf.la.gov, for press inquiries contact Ashley Roth, 504-286-4162 or aroth@wlf.la.gov


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