LDWF News

LDWF News Release

LDWF and State Officials Finalize $2.56 Million Agreement with BP for Fishing License Revenue Losses

Release Date: 12/21/2010

Funds will cover decline in recreational fishing license sales, associated federal funds and oyster tag revenue losses

Yesterday, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham and state officials finalized plans with British Petroleum to pay $2.56 million to LDWF for lost revenue associated with the decline in recreational fishing license sales, associated federal funds and oyster tag sales.

“This marks a critical step on the road to recovery for LDWF and Louisiana’s fishing communities. These funds are especially crucial now, more than ever, as our Department continues to fulfill its mission, while also working to help fishing communities rebound from the impact of the BP oil spill,” said Secretary Barham. “We are open for business here in Louisiana. I encourage all anglers to visit us for some of the best fishing in the world.”

The agreement with BP was finalized yesterday after discussions between BP officials, LDWF and representatives from the Louisiana Attorney General’s office.

As a result of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began in April 2010 and significant fishing closures, LDWF suffered a loss of almost $1.7 million from a decline in recreational fishing license sales. The Department also saw a loss of nearly $450,000 in federal funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and more than $200,000 in revenue from a decline in oyster tag sales in 2010.

Historically, June through October is the high season for recreational fishing license sales. These sales decreased from nearly $7.3 million in the period from April 21 through November 30 in 2009, to approximately $5.5 million in 2010 for the same time period – roughly a 24 percent decrease.

BP analyzed revenue from recreational fishing license and oyster tag sales in March and April of 2009 to determine a trend that was applied to projected sales in 2010. This figure demonstrated what revenues would have been but for the BP oil spill. BP officials then subtracted the actual revenue from the projected amount to determine lost revenue.

Officials with LDWF continue to work with BP on claims to fund an oyster cultch program and a saltwater hatchery. The Department previously announced agreements with BP for a $13 million fisheries impact study and $18 million for seafood safety monitoring and testing, and $30 million for seafood safety marketing efforts.

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. 

Gulf Saver Bags Placed at Pass A Loutre WMA In Effort to Rebuild Wetland Habitat

Release Date: 12/20/2010

Gulf Saver Bags are positioned to help restore receding marsh habitat at Pass a Loutre WMA.
LDWF worked with volunteer groups Dec. 17 to rebuild marsh grass habitat utilizing Gulf Saver Bags at Pass a Loutre WMA.
Packaged with native marsh grasses and nutrients, Gulf Saver Bags are being tested as a method to restore marsh habitat.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in collaboration with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) and the Restore the Earth Foundation, Inc., implemented a new coastal restoration technique at Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area (WMA) with the phase one installation of Gulf Saver Bags on Dec. 17.

“Seasonal tropical storm impacts, the recent oil spill and years of the Mississippi River delta altered by a controlled flow of sediment have taken their toll on the Louisiana coast,” said Robert Barham, LDWF secretary. “The oil impacted wetlands at Pass a Loutre are critical areas where marsh restoration efforts are needed.”

 

A crew of volunteers assisted LDWF Coastal and Non-game Resources Division personnel distribute 400 Gulf Saver Bags at the WMA that forms the southeast tip of Plaquemines Parish where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The wetland habitat within the WMA provides a natural home and breeding grounds for shrimp, crabs, oysters, and more than five million migratory birds. The southeastern Louisiana shoreline wetlands and barrier islands are the first line of defense protecting the area's populations against storm surge and tidal fluctuations.

The Gulf Saver Bag is a package of native marsh grasses with its own supply of natural nutrients and oil eating micro-organisms combined to support, feed and protect the new growth of marsh grasses in areas of need. The bag is standard biodegradable burlap weighing 20 pounds when packed. Placement by hand from small transport vessels minimizes disruption of shallow sediment along deteriorating coastal land mass.

Volunteers assisting with the Pass a Loutre project included representatives of CRCL, Restore the Earth Foundation, For the Bay (San Francisco non-profit group founded by Louisiana natives), Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Bethesda Green (Maryland), Global Green (New Orleans) and Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration.

 

“We are excited about this Gulf Saver restoration solution and look forward to educating volunteers from all over the nation about the importance of our coastal wetland habitats”, said Natalie Snider, Science Director of CRCL.

Pass a Loutre WMA encompasses 115,000 acres and is the oldest wildlife management area in Louisiana. Visit www.wlf.la.gov for information on LDWF’s coastal wildlife management areas.

Funding for phase one of the Pass a Loutre project was provided by For the Bayou, Benefit the Bayou, Bethesda Green, the Ittleson Foundation, the Coypu Foundation, State Farm and individual donors. For more information on the Gulf Saver Bag project, visit www.gulfsaversolutions.com. 

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.
 

LSPMB to Meet this Wednesday December 15

Release Date: 12/13/2010

The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will meet this Wednesday, December 15 at 1:00 p.m. in the UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, suite 210 in New Orleans, LA. The agenda is as follows.

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call
  3. Approval of minutes from October 13, 2010
  4. Reports
    1. Guest Presentations
      1. Shane Carmichael
      2. Acadiana Lafayette Contingency
    2. Executive Directors Report
    3. Treasurers Report
      1. Update on BP funds
  5. New Business
    1. Grant writing for taskforces (shrimp, oyster and crab)
    2. Social Media update- Zehnder
    3. Letters to board members who have more than 3 consecutive absences
    4. Elections of Executive Board for 2011-2012
    5. Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute/Sub Committee discussion (Executive, Funding, Legislative, Education and Marketing).
    6. National Seafood Marketing Coalition
    7. Boston Seafood Show
  6. Set Next Meeting
  7. Adjourn

For additional information please contact Ashley Roth at aroth@wlf.la.gov or 504-286-8735.

Shrimp Season to Remain Open in Certain Waters East of the Mississippi River and Close in a Portion of State Offshore Waters

Release Date: 12/13/2010

Portion of Zone 1 where shrimp season has been extended
Portion of State Offshore Waters to close to shrimping at sunset on 12/21/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham has extended the fall inshore shrimp season in a portion of state inside waters east of the Mississippi River that was scheduled to close December 21, 2010. Biological sampling data and trip ticket reports indicate that marketable quantities of white shrimp still remain available for harvest in these waters. Typically, the inshore shrimp season closes in late December when only smaller, less valuable shrimp are being caught by recreational and commercial fishermen. However, extended closures in state waters throughout the summer and into fall prevented the shrimp stock from being harvested at levels seen in previous years. The area to remain open to shrimping is that part of Shrimp Management Zone 1 in Lake Pontchartrain, Chef Menteur Pass, Rigolets Pass, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), that part of Lake Borgne seaward of a line extending one-half mile from the shoreline, and a portion of Mississippi Sound. The Wildlife and Fisheries Commission had earlier ordered that the fall inshore shrimp season in the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the “double-rig” line close March 31, 2011.

The Commission at its December 2 meeting approved closing a portion of state offshore waters to shrimping effective at sunset December 21, but authorized LDWF Secretary Barham to keep these waters open if necessary to allow continued harvest of shrimp by commercial and recreational fishermen.

The offshore area typically closed to shrimping each year is unique as it typically serves as a refuge to a large number of small over-wintering white shrimp. Additionally, provisions in state statute temporarily exempt the minimum possession count of 100 (whole shrimp) count per pound on white shrimp from October 15 through the 3rd Monday in December. Following December 20, it becomes illegal to possess white shrimp smaller than 100 count per pound. As temperatures drop, smaller sized white shrimp that had been occupying coastal lakes or bays migrate into these waters. Closures during the winter help to protect smaller shrimp so they may grow to larger, more valuable sizes.

As water temperatures warm in spring, large numbers of these over-wintering white shrimp re-enter coastal lakes and bays and quickly grow to very large sizes evidenced by reported statewide white shrimp landings of 11 million pounds in May 2009, worth approximately $14 million.

The offshore closure, if instituted on December 21, would include 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 navigation 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.

If allowed to take effect, the closure will become effective Tuesday, December 21 at sunset.

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. The Department will continue monitoring the sizes and abundance of shrimp in these offshore waters, so that other actions to close or re-open waters may be taken based on the availability of harvestable shrimp in these areas, while protecting the large numbers of very small white shrimp.

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 additional information please contact Martin Bourgeois at mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2401.

Louisiana Recreational Saltwater Fishing Task Force to Meet December 13

Release Date: 12/10/2010

The Louisiana Recreational Saltwater Fishing Task Force will meet at 10 a.m. on Monday, December 13, 2010, in the third floor conference room at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.
The agenda is as follows:

  1. Roll Call
  2. Approval of October 13, 2009 Minutes
  3. Update on Marine Bait Fish Contract (Dr. Chris Green)
  4. Update on Cocahoe Disease Contract (Dr. John Hawke)
  5. Presentation on Artificial Reefs (inshore/offshore) (Doug Peters)
  6. Update on Best Fish Handling Practices (Ed Chesney)
  7. Discussion of Saltwater Hatchery (LDWF)
  8. Introduction of the Outreach Staff (LDWF)
  9. Other Business
  10. Set Dates for Next Meeting
  11. Adjournment

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

L.D.W.F. Seeking Leads In Illegal Black Bear Killings

Release Date: 12/10/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are seeking leads for several illegal black bear killings that have taken place recently.

The killings have taken place from coastal bear habitat in St. Mary and Vermillion Parishes to Tensas Parish.  The bears have either been shot or trapped in hog snares by poachers.

Citizens 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 civil restitution fine of $10,000 per bear may be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.

Anyone with information regarding these illegal bear killings or any other wildlife crime should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511.  Cash rewards up to $5,000 are offered for information leading to the apprehension of individuals harming a black bear.  Callers will also remain anonymous.

"The department is working very hard to remove the Louisiana black bear from the Endangered Species List with the goal of maintaining a sustainable population that can support legal hunting. Illegal killing of Louisiana black bears may impede this effort and make this goal more difficult to attain," said Maria Davidson, Large Carnivore Program Manager for LDWF.

Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze of LDWF's Enforcement Division added that “The loss of these animals is regrettable and agents of the Enforcement Division will make every effort to locate the poachers responsible for these crimes.”

For more information, contact Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze at 225-765-2988 or klacaze@wlf.la.gov. 

Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association Teams with Local Radio Station to Help Kids this Christmas

Release Date: 12/09/2010

In an effort to help children in need this Christmas season, members of the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association (LWAA) in the Monroe area have this year contributed $2,000 toward the toy drive organized by the radio station K104 and the Radio People in Monroe.

LWAA President Lt. Scott Mathews said the toys were purchased and delivered to the local radio station on Dec. 9 and will be distributed to those in need in time for Christmas.

Mathews also thanked Spotted Dog Sporting Goods in Columbia and Academy Sporting Goods in West Monroe for providing discounts that allowed more toys to be bought for the drive.

“Both stores have been excellent partners in our attempt help out local children in need,” Mathews said. “The agents association would also like to thank K104 and the Radio People for organizing the drive. Through their contacts and wide reach, we know the toys will find a home with the children who most need them.”

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Division Chief Col. Winton Vidrine commended the LWAA for the generous donation. “The gifts are a wonderful way of helping those in need. The toys will surely brighten Christmas morning for a lot of kids,” Vidrine said.

The LWAA is a fraternal organization whose members are LDWF Enforcement Division agents.

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

Agents Looking For Leads Into Bald Eagle Killings

Release Date: 12/08/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement special agents are seeking information regarding the killing of two federally protected southern bald eagles.

Agents believe both eagles were killed on or about Dec. 7 on the East Bank area of Plaquemines Parish.

Deputy Roy Lally of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Office discovered the first illegally killed bald eagle along the Mississippi River levee near the town of Phoenix located in Plaquemines Parish. LDWF Senior Agent Brett Nabors responded to the area to take custody of the bird and begin an investigation.

During the ensuing search of the area where the first eagle was found, LDWF Lt. Robert Martin found a second dead eagle. Agents believe that both eagles were killed using the same method. Both eagles were delivered to the USFWS and will be forensically tested for cause of death.

The southern bald eagle is listed on the Endangered Species list, and fines up to $100,000 may be imposed for shooting or injuring the bird. Anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party is eligible for significant cash rewards.

Anyone with information may call Special Agent Stephen Clark at the USFWS office in Lacombe at 985-882-3756 or the LDWF Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-442-2511.

For more information, contact Capt. Steve McManus at the LDWF Region 8 Enforcement Office at 504-284-2024 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana’s Historic Conservation Magazine Goes Live

Release Date: 12/08/2010

The first online magazine for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) was launched on Tues, Dec. 7, opening the gateway for global exposure to the well-known and historical document, Louisiana Conservationist magazine (LCM).

As with many traditional publications these days, the LCM ceased printed publication in Spring 2010 with plans to launch an electronic version in the summer. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, however, postponed the magazine's new electronic format, consuming LDWF staff’s time during the summer. Now, just in time to finish out 2010 the Louisiana Conservationist is available again in a web page format viewable in any browser http://louisianaconservationist.org or in a book format featuring the familiar magazine-style layout. http://louisianaconservationist.org/current

Each issue will contain the same great stories and photography that was the hallmark of the printed magazine. Articles in this first online issue include details on LDWF’s efforts throughout the recent oil spill disaster, great gun cleaning tips and recipes from the 2010 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans.   Links to related web sites, department videos, and photographs are scattered throughout the magazine along with all the popular social networking tools.  The new site also offers the option to create a username, allowing for access to comments and notification of upcoming editions.

“We are excited about this new venture for the Conservationist,” commented LDWF Secretary Robert Barham,  “Moving forward with an online version invites the entire world to step inside and see our great state from a closer view.”

First printed in 1926, Louisiana Conservationist magazine was created to keep Louisiana citizens informed and educated on fish and game regulations and conservation programs.  It has survived through the generations, evolving and changing with the world.  Today its legacy continues, moving forward with the electronic age. 

For more information contact Marianne Burke, Public Information Director at mburke@wlf.la.govor 225-765-2917.

Greater Amberjack Recreational Season Won’t Close in 2010; 2011 Season Starts Jan. 1

Release Date: 12/08/2010

NOAA predicts 2010 quota will not be met; federal and state recreation season will stay open, continuous with 2011 season

(Baton Rouge, La.) December 8, 2010 – Recreational anglers will have the chance to continue to take home their greater amberjack catches in both state and federal waters off the Louisiana coast throughout the remainder 2010 and into the 2011 season, which starts on January 1. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDFW) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plan to keep the greater amberjack recreational season open for the remainder of the year, as NOAA predicts the quota for the harvest of greater amberjack will not be met.

LDWF officials estimate that approximately 14,500 greater amberjack weighing more than 337,000 pounds were harvested in Louisiana in 2009. Each year, recreational anglers in Louisiana land approximately 276,000 pounds of greater amberjack at docks across the state’s coast.
Greater amberjack are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in some parts of the Atlantic Ocean in temperate and tropical waters. They are typically found near offshore platforms, artificial reefs and near offshore wrecks in waters as deep as 300 feet.

The average size of a greater amberjack landed in Louisiana is more than 20 pounds, with the record weighing in at 139 lbs. The record catch was made by Bill Weldon in South Timablier Block 300 in May 2009.

Recreational saltwater fishing in Louisiana accounts for $472.1 million in retail sales in Louisiana annually and more than 7,700 jobs. The total economic impact is approximately $757.1 million each year. However, the BP oil spill kept many recreational anglers dockside throughout the summer.

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.

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