LDWF News

LDWF News Release

LDWF Hosts Second Annual Louisiana Saltwater Series Fishing Tournament

Release Date: 02/18/2011

More than 380 redfish already tagged; series features six rodeos, plus championship

Feb. 16, 2011 - The Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon return to the Gulf Coast for the tournament’s second year. Hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the series is dedicated to catch-and-release saltwater angling through a series of agency-sponsored fishing tournaments.

The series was developed by LDWF in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation to promote conservation of Louisiana’s saltwater sport fish resources, including one of Louisiana’s most valuable sport fish, redfish.

“This series is a critical part of ensuring the health and future of our natural resources and the coastal economy because it promotes the management and preservation of our redfish stocks for future generations,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.

Each series includes two-man teams with a $200 entry fee for each event. For teams consisting of three members, only two of the members may be 16 or older. The tournament is a 100 percent payout series. There is a 90 percent payout for the first six events with 10 percent retained for the championship. Payout is determined separately for each event based upon the total number of boats entered.

Participants may register online for the tournament at www.LaSaltwaterSeries.com.

This year, a youth division was established to introduce young anglers to the sport of fishing, and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation. Participants under 16 years of age will compete against one another in a separate category for trophy catch; all youth anglers will be recognized.

Data collected from tournament entries serve as valuable tools for LDWF fisheries managers and biologists to improve their understanding of marine sport fish movements, patterns of habitat use and estimate population size. Since 2004, over 15,000 redfish have been tagged through Louisiana’s Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program.

“Fish tagging can yield a wealth of information. Years ago, most tagging was done by scientists or trained biologists, but today recreational anglers are encouraged to join the effort as volunteers,” explained Pausina. “Utilizing volunteer taggers allows us to tag a greater number of fish from a wider geographic area.”

In last year’s series alone, anglers tagged a total of 380 fish. The recapture rate from the Slidell tournament was as high as 21 percent. Overall weight determined last year’s winners, with Richard Rutland taking home the monster catch of the series, a 9.66 lb red drum.

The 2011 series is comprised of six fishing events and a championship. Tournament locations are scheduled across the coast. The 2011 tournament schedule is as follows:

  • April 2 Lafitte, Seaway Marina; 
  • April 30 Lake Calcasieu, Calcasieu Point Landing; 
  • May 14 Venice, Venice Marina; 
  • June 18 Delacroix, Sweetwater Marina; 
  • July 23 Slidell, Dockside Bait and Tackle/The Dock; 
  • August 20 Port Fourchon, Moran’s Marina; and 
  • Championship October 7 and 8 Empire, The Delta Marina. 

Sponsorships for the Saltwater Series are still available. All sponsorship dollars will go towards the cost of planning, production and prize money.

For complete information, including rules, regulations and entry forms go to www.lasaltwaterseries.com.

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.

For more information contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-5113.

L.D.W.F. Enforcement Division Academy Cadets Become Commissioned Agents At Graduation Ceremony

Release Date: 02/16/2011

To request high resolution version of photo, please email aeinck@wlf.la.gov

(Back row from left to right: Brandon Fontenot, Kurt Hatten, Charles Taylor, Mitchell Saunders, Michael Marques, Kenneth Robertson, Jake Darden, and Justin Lowry.  Front row from left to right: Chadwick Wood, Dale Wheat, Andrew Mitchell, Charles Talbert, Norman Deroche, Cody Soileau, and Adam Tieben.)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy today, Feb. 16, graduated its 26th class of cadets into the ranks of LDWF Enforcement Division agents at a ceremony in Baton Rouge.

After six months of intensive physical and academic training at the academy, 15 newly commissioned agents are ready to begin enforcing hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. “You have a tremendous responsibility to protect Louisiana’s rich natural resources and those who enjoy those resources, whether in the field or on the water,” Barham noted. “Congratulations on your achievement which we celebrate today.”

Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadets’ transition to commissioned agents official. “We welcome them into the ranks and hope they all have long and successful careers as wildlife and fisheries enforcement agents,” said Col. Vidrine.

The 15 new agents are:

Jake Darden, 23, of Chitimacha; Norman Deroche III, 28, of Schriever; Brandon Fontenot, 25, of Sunset; Kurt Hatten, 23, of Dodson; Justin Lowry, 27, of Jennings; Michael Marques Jr., 34, of Slidell; Andrew Mitchell, 23, of Hornbeck; Kenneth Robertson, 25, of Monroe; Mitchell Saunders, 24, of Hammond; Cody Soileau, 26, of Lake Charles; Charles Talbert, 30, of Sulphur; Jared Taylor, 26, of Norco; Adam Tieben, 27, of Lafayette; Dale Wheat Jr., 25, of Baton Rouge; and Chadwick Wood, 28, of Boyce.

During the graduation ceremony, Lowry received the firearms award given for the best marksman in the class and the academic award for having the highest grades. Fontenot took home the physical training award for being the most fit. Lowry also won the overall award, which is a cumulative score from the firearms, academic and physical training categories.

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas. The academy also covers general law enforcement training equal to that of other state law enforcement officers.

The graduating agents fill vacancies in LDWF’s Enforcement Division and will be assigned to a field-training officer for their first six months of duty. Now part of the agency’s commissioned officer staff, the agents will join the ranks of those patrolling land and water to primarily detect game, fish and boating law violations. These duties require travel into Louisiana's forests, swamps, fields, streams, bayous, lakes, marshlands, the Gulf of Mexico and on the state roadway system.

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

Louisiana Man Passes Away in Two-Vessel Collision in Orleans Parish

Release Date: 02/16/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents responded to a fatal boating crash incident on Tuesday, Feb. 15 in Unknown Pass in Orleans Parish.

LDWF agents along with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) arrived on the scene at 2:30 p.m. of a two vessel collision involving a 20-foot Hydrosport captained by Ralph Grimaldi, 63, of Slidell, and an 18-foot Boston Whaler captained by Scott Jordan, 49, of Pearl River.

The USCG airlifted Grimaldi to the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse where he was not able to survive his injuries. LDWF agents transported Jordan to Orleans Parish Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel waiting on the shore. EMS personnel then took Jordan to the North Shore Ochsner Hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Grimaldi's vessel was also carrying two passengers who did not receive any major injuries.

LDWF agents are currently investigating the incident. Agents do not suspect alcohol or drugs at this time.

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

Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to Meet Wednesday Feb. 16

Release Date: 02/15/2011

Feb. 15, 2011 – The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will meet tomorrow, February 16, 2011 at 1 p.m. at the UNO Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in Suite 210, in New Orleans.

The agenda for tomorrow’s meeting is as follows:

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call
  3. Approval of minutes from December 15, 2010
  4. Reports
    1. Guest Presentations
      1. Jeffry Zehnder- Zehnder Communications. Boston booth, new photography and social media update
      2. Mark Schexnayder-WLF- certification and traceability update. Disaster recovery grant programs update.
    2. Executive Directors Report
    3. Treasurers Report
      1. update on BP funds
  5. New Business
    1. Sub Committee discussion (Executive, Funding, Legislative, Education and Marketing).
    2. Boston Seafood Show
    3. Updates List of Events
    4. Samuel H. Green School and the edible garden
    5. School lunch programs
    6. Foodways Texas Symposium – Kim Chauvin
  6. Set Next Meeting
  7. Adjourn

This meeting is open to the public.

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.

For more information contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or (225) 610-2363.

State Rolls Out Nearly $8 Million to Seafood Dealers

Release Date: 02/15/2011

Feb. 15, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in coordination with the Office of Community Development (OCD) - Disaster Recovery Unit, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), began distributing nearly $8 million last month for the Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Grant Program, a federally funded program aimed at aiding certain fisheries-related businesses that were affected by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

“Our fishing communities have spent the last five years battling back from disaster after disaster. Each time, they find a way to rebuild and get back to work. This program is an incredible opportunity to help our fishing communities continue to recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We are grateful to our state and industry partners for helping us make distributing assistance funds a reality.”

The $8 million Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Grant Program was designed to assist certain fishery-related businesses that were in the industry in 2008 and currently remain in business. In order to qualify, businesses were required to provide supporting tax documentation and to be able to document a minimum $15,000 tangible loss or decline in business. Once grant qualifications were met, applicants became eligible for a grant of the amount of their loss, not to exceed $100,000.

“The fishing and seafood industry is a vital part of Louisiana’s economy, and the state is committed to helping local fishermen continue to recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater. “The funds from the Wholesale, Dealer, Broker Program, along with the upcoming grants through the Commercial Fisheries Program, will help Louisiana’s fisherman and help boost seafood businesses.”

Louisiana also created a Commercial Fisherman Grant Program to assist Louisiana fishermen who held a commercial fishing license in 2008, are still licensed, and continue to recover from the impacts of hurricanes Gustav and Ike. It is anticipated this program will begin in early March.

"The Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority under the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry was already set up to help distribute relief funds for our agricultural producers," LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain said. "We were asked to help LDWF and LAFA was the perfect fund-distribution mechanism for the program. We got the money in the hands of seafood dealers quickly and efficiently."

Individuals who held both a Wholesale/Retail Dealer license and a Commercial Fishing license were only allowed to participate in one program.

Both programs are funded using Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) funds, which were set aside for aid to the fishing industry after it suffered more than $750 million in losses in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita Gustav and Ike. In total, Louisiana received more than $1 billion in CDBG funding for recovery from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, most of which the state has allocated directly to parishes for community recovery activities.

LDWF, OCD and LDAF hosted a series of outreach meetings during the spring of 2010 in coastal communities to provide more information to interested individuals.

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.

The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.

For more information from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, please contact Laura Deslatte at (225)610-2363 or at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov. For more information from the Office of Community Development, please contact Christina Stephens at (225) 603-3896 or Christina.stephens@la.gov. For more information from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, please contact Sam Irwin at (225) 922-1256 or sirwin@ldaf.state.la.us

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Maurice Man for Negligent Homicide

Release Date: 02/14/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Maurice man on Sunday, Feb. 13 for negligent homicide, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence for his alleged role in the death of an overdue hunter.

Quint Mire, 47, of Maurice, allegedly shot and killed Julian Gajan, 56, of Abbeville, on Wednesday, Feb. 9 while the two were hunting near White Lake located in Vermilion Parish.

On Thursday, Feb. 10 the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office contacted LDWF about an overdue hunter. It was reported that Gajan was last seen Wednesday afternoon at 11:30 a.m. when he left by boat to go hunting.

Gajan’s boat was located in a canal tied to a tree off of Schooner Bayou on the east side of White Lake where he hunts. A search of the marsh and surrounding areas was organized. Agencies participating in the search were the LDWF Enforcement Division, Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard, the Angola State Penitentiary K-9 Chase Team and the Patterson Police Department's K-9 Unit.

Rescuers searched until 1 a.m. on Friday morning and resumed the search at daylight Friday morning. The search was suspended at dark Friday night and again resumed at daylight Saturday morning.

Rescuers located Gajan’s body at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12 on a canal levee in the marsh approximately one mile from his boat. Investigators revealed that he was shot with buckshot.

On Sunday morning, Quint Mire came forward and stated to investigators that he accidentally shot Gajan while hunting on Wednesday. According to Mire, he dropped Gajan off on the canal levee then went down and positioned himself farther down the same levee to wait for Gajan to drive a deer past his location. Mire said that he thought Gajan was a deer as he walked through the trees and shot him.

Mire was booked into the Vermilion Parish Jail. The LDWF Enforcement Division and Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office are continuing the investigation of this incident.

If convicted of all three charges, Mire faces up to 28 years in jail and up to $65,000 in fines.

Agents who participated in the search and investigation were Lt. Bobby Buatt, Sgts. Keith Delahoussaye, Kane Thomas and Aaron Herpin, and Senior Agents Justin Sonnier, Lonnie Campbell, Anthony Verret, Derek Logan, Donald Murray and Jason Stagg.

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

L.D.W.F. Investigating Boating Incident in Gulf that Resulted in Four Fatalities

Release Date: 02/13/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries staff and Enforcement Division agents are investigating a boating incident that left four people dead in the Gulf of Mexico on Feb. 12.

The four deceased bodies found in the Gulf were Wayne Dowsey, 61, of Point Clear, Ala., and who was the owner and operator of the vessel; Randy Dowsey, 58, of Fairhope, Ala.; Kerri Burns, 33, of Fairhope, Ala.; and Kenny Mock, 58, of Metairie. The lone survivor was Heath Dowsey, 33, of Fairhope, Ala; who was the son of Randy and nephew of Wayne.

According to Heath, the five left from Venice around 6:30 a.m. for a fishing trip. They left out of the South Pass into the Gulf of Mexico and were about 2 to 3 miles offshore when one of the engines in the twin engine vessel abruptly shut down between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

When checking out the engine, they noticed the back of the boat filling with water, which prompted the operator to turn off the other engine. With both engines turned off, the boat then rapidly filled with water and within minutes the boat was listing to one side according to Heath.

The five were able to grab four life jackets, but were unable to put them on before the boat capsized sending all five into the cold waters of the Gulf. Heath was able to hang on to the rope from the bow of the boat, and the other four were able to hang on to the life jackets and side of the boat. Heath eventually made his way onto the hull of the capsized boat getting himself out of the cold water.

According to Heath, around 1 p.m. an offshore supply vessel located the capsized vessel with Heath on top. The crew boat was able to take Heath into their boat and locate the other four people who had drifted away from the capsized vessel.

Within minutes, an LDWF Office of Fisheries vessel that was in the area doing field work came across the capsized boat and crew boat where the four bodies were still floating lifeless. The LDWF Office of Fisheries Vessel was able to transport the deceased bodies to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Venice. Heath was also transferred to a U.S. Coast Guard vessel for transport to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Venice.

Heath was treated for mild hypothermia by emergency medical workers at the U.S. Coast Guard station. It is unknown at this time if the four people perished from drowning or hypothermia.

The LDWF Enforcement Division will investigate the incident to determine a cause. At this time, LDWF does not suspect drugs or alcohol involvement. The LDWF Enforcement Division and Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office will attempt to recover the capsized vessel for the investigation.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-354-9517 (Cell) or 225-765-2465 (Work).

Allen Parish District Attorney Provides Essential Equipment to Local L.D.W.F. Enforcement Agents

Release Date: 02/11/2011

Feb. 11, 2011 - Allen Parish District Attorney Todd Nesom recently donated equipment to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents patrolling Allen, Beauregard and Evangeline parishes.

Nesom provided two spotting scopes with tripods, a night vision monocular, and a Garmin Map 76 global positioning system (GPS) among other equipment valued at $3,200 to the agents.

Agents in the Allen, Beauregard and Evangeline parishes will utilize this equipment enforcing the West Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Ouiska Chitto River and other night hunting activities in Allen Parish.

Agents completed 54 night hunting related cases this past hunting season in Allen, Beauregard and Evangeline parishes with 35 of those cases occurring in Allen Parish in the vicinity of West Bay WMA. Agents also generated 300 cases during the spring and summer of 2010 on the Ouiska Chitto River along the nine-mile stretch utilized by the local canoe rental companies of Mittie.

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.

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

Louisiana Seafood Still Safe to Eat; Average Consumer Could Eat 63 lbs of Louisiana Shrimp, Each Day for 5 Years

Release Date: 02/10/2011

Louisiana state officials confirm seafood safety; state has tested more than 1,000 composite samples of Louisiana seafood since start of BP oil spill

(Feb. 10, 2011) – The average consumer could eat 63 pounds of shrimp each day for five years before reaching the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “levels of concern” for oil contamination according to Louisiana state officials. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that levels of contaminants being found in Gulf seafood are so low that the average consumer would have to consume extreme amounts of seafood before approaching a level that approaches a health risk, according to the FDA.

State officials with LDWF and the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) examined the levels of contaminates associated with the BP oil spill, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), being found in Louisiana seafood that have been collected throughout the spill and determined that the levels were so low that they do not pose a risk to consumers. The average consumer could eat any of the following amounts of seafood each day for up to five years without exceeding the health risks for contamination:

  • 63 pounds of peeled Louisiana shrimp, or 1,575 jumbo shrimp,
  • 5 pounds of Louisiana oyster meat, or 130 individual oysters, or
  • 9 pounds of Louisiana fish, or 18 8-ounce fish filets.

LDWF and the Department of Health and Hospitals have tested more than 1,000 individual seafood samples for contamination associated with the BP oil spill since May 9, 2010. Seafood samples often include more than one specimen. For example, one shrimp sample may include as many as 100 individual shrimp that are then ground into a composite paste and sampled. This composite sampling method provides a more complete picture of the health of seafood off Louisiana’s coast.

All of the seafood samples tested by Louisiana and federal officials have been safe for consumption.

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.

For more information contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov (225) 610-8860.

Environmental Education Commission Announces February Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 02/09/2011

February 11, 2011 – 1:00 p.m.
Bonaparte Room
Baton Rouge Marriott
550 Hilton Avenue

  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. Symposium Committee Reports, no more than 5 minutes each
      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. Symposium Volunteer Assignments
    3. Environmental Literacy Plan
  8. New Business
    1. Discuss date for 2012 Symposium
    2. New School Sustainability Grant, Grant reviews
    3. Art & Language Arts Contest judges
  9. Announcements      
  10. Next Meeting Dates: May 10, 2011, August 9, 2011, November 8, 2011
  11. Adjournment

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

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