L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

LDWF to Close Commercial Fishing of Small Coastal Sharks in La. Waters at 11:30 p.m., November 18

Release Date: 11/17/2010

NOAA predicts quota will be met; fishery will reopen until 2011 season

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will close the small coastal shark fishery in state waters at 11:30 p.m., November 18, 2010. LDWF Secretary Robert Barham signed the closure, which follows the November 2 closure issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The recreational season remains open.

Commercial fishermen began harvesting blacknose and non-blacknose small coastal sharks in Louisiana waters when the state’s shark fishery opened on July 1. The small coastal shark fishery includes the bonnethead shark, the Atlantic sharpnose, the blacknose and finetooth sharks.

While the federal small coastal shark season opened on June 1, LDWF keeps the state fishery closed to commercial shark harvest from April 1 to June 30 each year in order to protect shark pups and pupping females.

NOAA estimates the landings for small coastal sharks from Maine to Mexico to be 226,112 lb. The small coastal shark landings in Louisiana are extremely low annually.

The federal commercial season for small coastal sharks will remain closed until the start of the 2011 season, which is determined by NOAA, and opens 30 days after the opening date for the season is publicized in the federal register. LDWF will determine the 2011 state waters in conjunction with the federal season.

No personal shall purchase, barter, trade or exchange shark in excess of the designated trip limits, or from any person who does not possess a commercial state shark permit or federal commercial directed or incidental limited access or federal shark research permits, if applicable.

Vessels that possess a federal shark research permit may continue to operate under the permit’s conditions, including NOAA Fisheries observers aboard the vessel for the duration of the trip, until the federal shark research fishery quota is met.

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 Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-311

St. Bernard Parish Man Arrested By L.D.W.F. Agents For Falsifying Commercial Fishing Information

Release Date: 11/15/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) arrested a St. Bernard Parish man on Nov. 15 for allegedly falsifying commercial fishing catch information submitted to the department.

Glenn J. Cascio Jr., 30, of Arabi, allegedly falsified 16 trip ticket documents dated from Jan. 1, 2010 through May 3, 2010 in order to file a claim with BP America due to the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Cascio was charged with three felonies for filing false public records, injuring public records and theft by fraud and was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. The trip tickets were filed with LDWF and represented 43,264 pounds of crab at a value of $38,570. According to the arrest warrant, Cascio stated that he received a total of $10,000 from BP America.

SIU agents, Lt. Jay Diez and Senior Agent Edward Ridgel, met with Cascio on Nov. 6 after receiving a complaint from the department's trip ticket section that Cascio did not possess a commercial fishing license during the timeframe specified on the trip tickets. According to the arrest warrant, Cascio admitted to not catching or selling any crab from Jan. 1 to May 3 and that he falsified the trip ticket information in order to file a claim with BP America.

If convicted, Cascio faces fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail with or without hard labor for each charge of falsifying and injuring public records. For the fraud charge, Cascio faces a fine up to $3,000 and up to 10 years in jail with or without hard labor.

LDWF routinely reviews every trip ticket received from the commercial fishing industry to ensure that the most accurate data are collected and properly reflect the important role the state of Louisiana plays in the production of seafood and the management of the state's seafood resources.

"We want to ensure our commercial fishermen and dealers are compensated fairly by using accurate trip ticket information," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division. "We do not want to see commercial fishermen or dealers tempted to commit felony violations by falsifying trip ticket documents, which can damage the basis of having the best scientific information available to manage the seafood resources."

This is the fifth arrest made by LDWF agents in connection with allegedly falsifying commercial fishing information to receive compensations from BP America since August.

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

2010-309

L.D.W.F. Agents Find Deceased Boater In St. Bernard Parish

Release Date: 11/15/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents found the deceased body of an overdue Mississippi boater near Martin Island in St. Bernard Parish shortly before noon on Nov. 14.

Agents found the body of David McAdory, 63, of Madison County, Miss. near his anchored boat in the Chandeleur Sound portion of Louisiana waters.

Agents responded to a report of an overdue boater out of Mississippi in the late afternoon hours of Nov. 13.  Agents later found the anchored boat with fishing lines still in the water with no one on board and searched until nightfall with the assistance of U.S. Coast Guard helicopters for the body of McAdory. 

Agents found McAdory’s body without a personal flotation device in eight to 10 foot of water.  Agents transported the deceased body and his vessel to the Fort Beauregard landing where the St. Bernard Parish Coroner assumed custody of the body to determine a cause of death.

LDWF agents do no suspect foul play at this time as the victim suffered from an unspecified medical condition, which may have contributed to his death.

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

2010-309

L.D.W.F. Advisory for Duck Hunters Encountering Ongoing Oil Spill Activities During 2010-11 Season

Release Date: 11/10/2010

In advance of the opening of the regular duck season this weekend, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising duck hunters to remain aware of ongoing activities in coastal areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The 2010-11 duck season will run from Nov. 13 through Jan. 30 and hunters may encounter clean-up crews and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) teams gathering samples for testing. Clean-up activities continue in the marshes, bays and on beaches of coastal southeast Louisiana. In addition, NRDA data collection activities involving aerial and boat surveys, fish trapping, and submerged aquatic vegetation sampling may be seen in some areas. Hunters are required to stay at least 65 feet from any existing clean-up operation or equipment and are asked to be tolerant and respectful of this important work.

The U.S. Coast Guard and oil spill response operations personnel have been briefed and will delay initiating work to reduce crowding at boat ramps and marsh disturbance during the popular early-morning hunting hours on opening weekend. Hunters are advised that for the duration of the season, clean-up crews will be easily recognized as clusters of workers wearing white Tyvek suits and their presence puts added emphasis on standard gun-safety procedures.

If a hunter harvests an oiled bird, it must be kept as part of the daily bag limit, but LDWF is advising hunters NOT to eat visibly oiled ducks. Hunters are asked to report any oiled bird harvested or any other oiled birds observed in the field to LDWF at (225) 278-8082. If a harvested bird is observed to be oiled, wrap the bird in aluminum foil or paper and deliver it to the nearest LDWF field office or active bag check station so the bird can be analyzed and become part of the oil spill damage assessment.

For more information please contact Larry Reynolds, LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader, at (225) 765-0456 or lreynolds@wlf.la.gov.

2010-308

Public Can Call 1-800-LITRBUG For Littering Complaints

Release Date: 11/09/2010

Public Can Call 1-800-LITRBUG For Littering Complaints

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advocating the public to call the "Litterbug Hotline" whenever they witness somebody littering or observe an illegal dumping site.

The "Litterbug Hotline" is now housed inside the LDWF Enforcement Division and littering tipsters can call 1-888-LITRBUG or 1-888-548-7284 to report any potential littering violations.

"This hotline is being manned 24 hours a day and we welcome all littering clues and complaints from the public as we strive to keep Louisiana's roadsides, woods and waterways clean," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the Enforcement Division. "Each tip will be investigated by our agents and other litter law enforcement agency partners."

Those convicted of litter violations face between $75 and $1,000 in fines and up to eight hours in a litter abatement work program. Dumping violations can carry even more penalties and higher fines depending on the severity of the dumpsite and the damage to the environment.

If witnessing somebody throwing trash out of a vehicle window or trash blowing out of a pickup truck bed, please call the hotline with the make, model and color of the vehicle and the roadway location. The hotline is also the number to call for detecting or knowing of an unauthorized trash or dumpsite. All callers can remain anonymous.

As a part of the Governor's Office strategy to streamline public services, the LDWF Enforcement Division communication's section took over the litter hotline from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The LDWF Enforcement Division communication's section also handles the Operation Game Thief hotline that takes calls for hunting and fishing violation tips.

Since June 1, the Enforcement Division has received 474 calls through the hotline including 161 calls from East Baton Rouge Parish and 61 from St. Tammany Parish.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents issued 1,001 littering citations for fiscal year 2009-10 and logged 7,958 patrol hours for littering enforcement.

According to Keep Louisiana Beautiful, littering costs Louisiana taxpayers $40 million annually in cleanup fees. Littering also contributes to flooding, lowers property values and damages wildlife habitat.

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

2010-307

LDWF Reopens Commercial Crab Fishing in Mississippi River Delta

Release Date: 11/08/2010

LDWF Reopens Commercial Crab Fishing in Mississippi River Delta
LDWF Reopens Commercial Crab Fishing in Mississippi River Delta

Reopening effective immediately; 98.5% of state waters reopened for commercial fishing

Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ordered an emergency reopening of commercial crabbing in portions of state inside and outside territorial waters within the Mississippi River Delta previously closed due to the BP oil spill.
LDWF Secretary Robert Barham ordered this opening following the completion of comprehensive testing by the FDA. The FDA has advised that following extensive sensory testing and analytical chemistry results, the crab tissue samples tested from these previously closed areas are safe for consumption.

Commercial crab fishing reopens immediately today, November 8, 2010. The reopening includes portions of state waters extending seaward a minimum distance of one-quarter mile or more from the shoreline between the northern shore of Pass a Loutre and 29 degrees 12 minutes 40 seconds north latitude and the western shore of Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River and 89 degrees 25 minutes 00 seconds west longitude. For a detailed description of the latitude and longitude lines for which the reopening applies, click here.

Recreational and commercial fishing for shrimp and finfish were previously opened in these waters on October 28. The harvest of oysters is regulated by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; harvesting areas remain closed in portions of these waters.

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 Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov. 

Documents: 

Louisiana Environmental Education Commission November Agenda

Release Date: 11/08/2010

Meeting Agenda
November 10, 2010
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
Baton RougeOffice, Louisiana Room
1 PM

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll Call/Sign-in
  3. Introduction
  4. Minutes from last meeting
  5. Financial Report
  6. Coordinator’s Report
  7. Old Business
    1. 2011 Symposium Committee reports
      1. Audio Visual
      2. Door Prize/Hospitality
      3. Evaluation
      4. Exhibitor
      5. Finance
      6. Keynote
      7. Lodging Assistance
      8. Programs
      9. Public Relations
      10. Registration
    2. Environmental Literacy Plan
  8. New Business
    1. 2011 Environmental Awareness Art & Language Arts Contest
    2. 2011 Grants Program
    3. LEEC vote of officers
  9. Announcements
    1. 2011 Calendars are ready for pick up
  10. Next Meeting Dates: February 12, 2011 (at Symposium), May 10, 2011, August 9, 2011
  11. Adjournment   

For more information, please contact Venise Ortego at 337-948-0255 or vortego@wlf.la.gov.

Thistlethwaite Wildlife Management Area Lease Renewed

Release Date: 11/05/2010

John R. "Ric" Thistlethwaite III, Patrick F. Thistlethwaite, LDWF Sec. Robert Barham and Lawrence Thistlethwaite III

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Thistlethwaite heirs announced the renewal of the lease agreement for Thistlethwaite Wildlife Management Area (WMA) at the Nov. 5 commission meeting.  

This agreement renews the 10-year lease, free of charge, for Thistlethwaite WMA, encompassing 11,000 acres in St. Landry Parish.  Through the cooperative effort of the private landowners, Thistlethwaite WMA has been a part of LDWF’s WMA system since 1966.

“The Thistlethwaite’s gift is a perfect example of the commitment outdoorsmen have to conservation,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “We honor the Thistlethwaite family for their generous contribution and for ensuring future generations enjoy wildlife and related recreation in this area.”

This property features a vast array of outdoor recreational opportunities for the public. The WMA includes 11 miles of nature trails to make hunting as well as birding and nature walks more accessible.

The WMA is a bottomland hardwood area and is home to a variety of game and non-game wildlife species including whitetail deer, squirrels, rabbits, woodcock and wood ducks.  Various species of songbirds and wading birds reside on the property as well.  

Additional information may be obtained by calling 337-948-0255.

2010-304

LDWF, State Officials Partner with New Orleans Hornets, Launch Louisiana Seafood Market

Release Date: 11/05/2010

Three-year partnership will fund concessions stand selling only La. seafood, helps promote fishing industry.

(Baton Rouge, La.) November 5, 2010 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) joined officials with the Office of Community Development (OCD), and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) today to announce a partnership with the New Orleans Hornets to launch a Louisiana-only seafood concessions stand. Located inside the New Orleans Arena, the Louisiana Seafood Market will promote the state’s seafood industry while serving safe, quality commercial seafood caught in Louisiana waters.

“Louisiana’s fishing industry has battled back from four major hurricanes over the last five years only to face the challenges created by the BP oil spill,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fisheries Randy Pausina. “We have seen a dramatic drop in the value of our seafood this year, and we have to address the industry’s issues now. This partnership is an exciting opportunity to support our fishermen and to help reinforce that Louisiana seafood is safe and healthy. We’re grateful to the Hornets for their incredible support of the industry, and I challenge everyone who comes to the arena to stop by the market for some of the safest, most delicious commercial seafood in the country.”

“The entire Hornets family is proud to support the Louisiana seafood industry and provide our fans at the arena with the freshest seafood straight out of the Gulf,” said Hornets President Hugh Weber.  “Through our partnership with the Office of Community Development, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, we are able to send the message to our fans and the entire community that Louisiana seafood is safe, fresh and back open for business.  The new Louisiana Seafood Market concession stand is just another way we can provide our fans with options for top-notch local cuisine as they cheer on the Hornets at the Hive.”

The Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit worked closely with LDWF and LSPMB to secure $300,000 in funding from a Community Block Development Grant for the Louisiana-only seafood concessions stand to support the state’s fishing industry. In addition to the three-year agreement for the concessions stand, the Hornets have also committed to working with the state to promote Louisiana seafood with their fans, and in cities across the country as they travel to away games.

“This oil spill could not have come at a worse time for our fishing industry, which was still struggling to recover from the affects of four hurricanes in three years. It’s crucial that we continue to help rebuild and restore our fishing industry and communities by reinforcing the safety and quality of Louisiana seafood, both with our own residents and with those who join us at the arena from out of state,” said Office of Community Development Director Robin Keegan. “I’m incredibly grateful to President Weber and his staff for working to make this concession stand happen. It takes Louisiana companies purchasing Louisiana seafood to help rebuild our industry and our brand – the Hornets are playing an integral part in that today.”

“The Louisiana seafood stand at the New Orleans arena offers attendees a true taste of Louisiana. Whether it is a fan attending a Hornets game, or watching a performance by a world-renowned entertainer, the experience will be complete with flavorful dishes created from fresh Louisiana seafood,” said LSPMB Assistant Executive Director Rene LeBreton.

In addition to supporting the seafood industry through the Louisiana Seafood Market concession stand, the Hornets have teamed up with Chevron and several other corporate partners including Rouses Supermarkets, CVS pharmacies and Take 5 Oil Change  to launch the “Believe in Blue” campaign which will serve to raise awareness and funds for the residents of communities affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, restore local coastal wetlands and help return the gulf’s water back to its original color—blue.  In the last month alone, the team has raised over $40,000 for Gulf Coast restoration.

All proceeds raised through the entire “Believe in Blue” campaign will benefit the Friends of the Fisherman fund, the officially endorsed fund of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board created to help Louisiana's fishermen, America’s WETLAND Foundation, established to preserve Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans.  All funds will be collected and distributed through the United Way.

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 Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

2010-303

2010-2011 Louisiana Oyster Season Modified by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

Release Date: 11/04/2010

2010-2011 Louisiana Oyster Season Modified by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

The 2010-2011 oyster season for public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and in Hackberry Bay was delayed by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in an effort to protect and enrich oysters for future harvest. These public oyster areas were originally scheduled to open on November 15, 2010. 

Biological data gathered by LDWF biologists indicates the presence of a recent reproductive event in some areas east of the Mississippi River resulting in the presence of significant numbers of oyster spat (young oysters less than one inch in length). Harvest in these areas was postponed to allow these juvenile oysters appropriate time to mature and become viable for future harvests. 

Significant oyster mortalities were also documented during biological sampling in some areas which has further decreased an already reduced oyster resource. The commission took action to delay the season in order to protect and conserve the remaining oyster resources located in these areas. The public grounds east of the Mississippi River contribute approximately 28 percent of all oyster harvest in Louisiana on an annual basis.

The remaining public oyster areas throughout the coast will continue with the current oyster season framework as set by the commission at their August 2010 meeting. Most of these areas will open on November 15, 2010.

The commission authorized Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Secretary Robert J. Barham 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.

 For more information, contact Patrick Banks at 225.765.2370 (pbanks@wlf.louisiana.gov).

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