LDWF News Release

Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 09/15/2010

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010 - 1:30 p.m.
Louisiana Room
Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries Headquarters
2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, La.  70808

1.    Roll Call

2.    Approval of Minutes of March 16, 2010

3.    Welcome and Opening Comments Chairman

4.    Enforcement Division Report: Oil Spill Response

5.    Bird Rescue Mission: Oil Spill Response Office of Wildlife, Coastal & Non-game Resources Division

6.    2010-11 Duck Season Forecast / Oil Spill Impacts on Habitat Office of Wildlife, Wildlife Division

7.    Fisheries Report: Oil Spill Response Office of Fisheries, Research Division

8.    Set Next Meeting Date

9.    Receive Public Comments

10.    Adjournment




LDWF Secretary Again Asks BP to Fund an Extensive Seafood Testing, Certification and Marketing Plan

Release Date: 09/15/2010

New plan calls for five-year program to restore consumer confidence in Louisiana seafood

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham wrote to BP Global Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley urging the funding of a $173 million plan to ensure the safety of Louisiana seafood and restore consumer confidence.

The text of the letter is below:


September 15, 2010

Robert Dudley
Chief Executive Officer
BP Global


Dear Mr. Dudley:

I write to express my strong disappointment with BP’s resistance to support our crippled Louisiana seafood industry.  As our state endeavors to rebuild consumer confidence in our seafood products, we have requested that BP fund a five-year testing and marketing program that is essential to restoring consumer confidence in Louisiana seafood.

It is without question that your company appreciates the importance of public perception, as demonstrated by its spending in excess of $100 million in advertising, image promotion and damage control.  However, recent events have made it clear that BP’s appreciation for public perception is nonexistent when it comes to Louisiana’s seafood industry. BP representatives made it clear that, in their opinion, there is no negative public perception of Louisiana seafood as a result of the oil spill and that no certified quality or marketing program would be necessary for the Louisiana seafood industry to recover from the devastation that your spill caused.

That “opinion” of BP’s is fundamentally disconnected from reality. The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism reports that approximately 50 percent of those surveyed nationwide believe that Louisiana restaurants may be putting their customers at risk due to contaminated product. The same study also shows that 44 percent of consumers believe that seafood is being harvested from areas where oil is still present and nearly half of all respondents believe that Louisiana oyster beds are still contaminated from the spill. Another study by the University of Minnesota reports that 44 percent of those surveyed said they would not eat seafood from the Gulf, and a poll by the Associated Press in August 2010 found that 54 percent of consumers are concerned about the safety of Gulf seafood.

BP has already refused our 20-year testing plan. Now, BP officials have also refused to support a five-year testing plan. Further, BP informed us that it will not entertain the possibility of automatic renewals, or even negotiations, for future testing.  This preemptive refusal of even the possibility of longer-term testing is being maintained by your company, in spite of our offer to base future testing program renewals on future test results, market share, and/or production criteria.   

Further, BP suggested that we wait until our seafood industry suffers greater losses caused by the negative perception that Gulf seafood is contaminated due to the BP oil spill.  The idea that we would need to wait until the industry suffers further before employing a full-scale campaign to test our seafood, certify it and publicize that it is safe is insulting to our seafood industry and all the fishermen, restaurant owners and residents of the Gulf Coast who continue to be affected by the spill.  

The entire point of promoting and certifying seafood safety is so that we do NOT wait until the industry suffers to the point where it is not able to come back at all. It does no good to wait until market share reduction and price collapses are verified only to then try to start rebuilding our brand as some of the finest seafood in the world.  It will be too late to regain such a tremendous loss, and also serve as an avoidable punishment for the people of coastal Louisiana who have already suffered too much from this BP manmade disaster.

I ask that you reconsider your position, and honor your publically made commitment to the Gulf Coast to not deny any claim and commit to making our people and our industry whole again following this environmental catastrophe.


Very Truly Yours,

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham
State of Louisiana



L.D.W.F. to Present Black Bear Research Data at Sept. 18 Public Meeting in Tallulah

Release Date: 09/10/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has scheduled a public meeting for Sept. 18 to present the preliminary results of Louisiana black bear population research conducted on the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge.
The meeting will be held at the Tallulah Country Club, 762 US Hwy. 65 South at 7:30 p.m.  The Louisiana black bear population research is in its fifth year, and results from the first three years of the project will be presented to the public.
The research project is funded by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and LDWF.  Field work is being conducted by the University of Tennessee under direction of LDWF.  
There will be an opportunity after the presentation for questions and discussion regarding research and management work being accomplished in Louisiana for the Louisiana black bear.

EDITORS: For more information, contact Maria Davidson at  337-948-0255 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov



LDWF Begins Process of Reopening Commercial Fishing in Terrebonne and Timbalier Bays by Collecting Seafood Samples for Federal Testing

Release Date: 09/09/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is moving forward with sampling of crab, shrimp and finfish in closed commercial fishing areas west of the Mississippi Delta, which is the first step in reopening these state waters to commercial fishing.

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concurred with Louisiana's request to begin the reopening process in Terrebonne and Timbalier Bays, which were originally closed to commercial fishing earlier this summer after confirmed reports of oil suspected to be from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This marks the first federal testing to take place on seafood in these waters since the state issued the emergency closures. Once samples from these areas are determined to be safe of all hydrocarbons and dispersant substance, LDWF Secretary Robert Barham intends to order immediate openings to commercial fishing in these areas, which will leave only five percent of commercial fishing areas closed. Currently, LDWF fisheries biologists are collecting thousands of specimens of crab, shrimp and finfish in Terrebonne and Timbalier bays to submit to the FDA and NOAA for sensory testing and chemical analysis. Once these samples are processed, the FDA will render its decision on the reopening.

LDWF guidelines for re-opening commercial fishing areas are as follows:

  • Once visible signs of oil are no longer apparent in waters previously closed by LDWF to commercial fishing, LDWF will submit an 'intent to reopen' letter to NOAA and the FDA; 
  • LDWF biologists then conduct thorough sampling of finfish, crabs and shrimp in the proposed reopening area; 
  • Following the collection of the samples, biologists will immediately transfer specimens to be tested by the FDA and NOAA for signs of chemical contamination; 

Once the analysis is complete FDA and NOAA will render an opinion regarding the proposed reopening. The entire process is expected to be completed in 14 days.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep

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



September Hearings Allow for Public Comment on Proposed Reintroduction of Non-migratory Whooping Cranes in Louisiana

Release Date: 09/07/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will host two public hearings this month to determine if there are concerns on the proposal to re-establish a non-migratory flock of whooping cranes in the wetlands of southwestern Louisiana.

Public hearings will be held:

Sept. 15, 2010

Gueydan Civic Center, 901 Wilkinson St., Gueydan, LA 70542

Sept. 16, 2010

LDWF headquarters, 2000 Quail Drive Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Each public hearing will last from 7 - 9 p.m. Before each hearing, an open house from 6 to 7 p.m. will provide an additional opportunity for the public to gain information and ask questions about the proposed rule.

All comments received at a public hearing, both verbal and written, will be considered in making a final decision. If this proposal is approved, the reintroduction effort could begin during early 2011.

Additionally, the public can comment on the proposal on or before October 18. 2010 through any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2010-0057; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.
E-mails or faxes will not be accepted. All comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that any personal information provided will be posted. 

 For more information, contact Carrie Salyers at 337-538-2276 or csalyers@wlf.la.gov or Bill Brooks at 904-731-3136 or Billy_Brooks@fws.gov.


L.D.W.F. Advisory for Teal Hunters in Oil Spill Impacted Areas

Release Date: 09/03/2010

Teal season opens Saturday, Sept.11, and thousands of hunters will make their first waterfowl hunts in the coastal marshes since last winter. Although no areas in Louisiana are closed to hunting due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacts, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) advises hunters that they may encounter clean-up activities, boom protecting habitat, and possibly oiled habitat or birds. Additionally, some boat launch access points will be in use for continued clean-up activities.
Launch and Habitat Access
Boat launches serving the clean-up operation will be crowded with vehicles serving that mission. For example, launches in Hopedale, Cocodrie, Myrtle Grove and Venice are departure points for oil-spill workers, and the launch at the end of LA Hwy. 665 near Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is closed to public use. Once on the water, hunters should expect additional boat traffic in areas near oil impacts. Like fishermen, hunters are not allowed to cross protective boom and are required to stay at least 65 feet from boom and other clean-up equipment.
The U.S. Coast Guard and oil-spill response operations personnel have agreed to minimize wildlife habitat disturbance where individuals may be hunting. Air-boat activity on WMAs will be stopped, low-level aircraft flights and other operations will be delayed until later in the morning, and clean-up crews will be briefed about potential hunting activity during the Sept.11 – 26 teal season.
LDWF asks hunters to remain aware of clean-up crews along the coast and understand the significance of their continued efforts. Oil-spill responders will be in clusters of boats and wearing white Tyvek suits. Their presence puts added emphasis on standard gun-safety procedures. Oil impacts are generally on the exterior marshes and islands, open bays and barrier islands. Any questions or issues relating to teal season hunting in areas of oil impact or cleanup activities should be reported to the Louisiana Teal Season Hotline at (985) 647-0266.
Oiled Wildlife or Habitat
In the unlikely event that hunters harvest 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, and any other oiled birds observed in the field, to the Oiled Wildlife Hotline at (866) 557-1401 and also to the nearest LDWF Field Office. If possible, wrap the oiled 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.
Hunters are also encouraged to report oil impacted marsh habitat to the Environmental Hotline at (866) 448-5816.
As part of the wildlife recovery and rehabilitation process, a few game birds that were recovered have been cleaned and released back into the wild. These birds have been tagged with a standard silver federal band and a red auxiliary band that says “Oil Spill Bird.” Hunters should not eat these birds, but should call the phone numbers on the band to report them.
For more information please contact Larry Reynolds, LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader, at (225) 765-0456 or lreynolds@wlf.la.gov.

L.W.F.C. Requiring New Permit for Deer Hunters Using Dogs in Kisatchie National Forest

Release Date: 09/03/2010

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, in consultation with Kisatchie National Forest (KNF), is requiring a permit for those deer hunters on KNF during the “with or without dogs” portion of the hunting season, Dec. 18 to 24 and Dec. 26, 2010.

The permits will be available beginning Oct. 1, 2010 on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) website or through one of LDWF’s or KNF’s field offices. The permitting process will enable KNF and LDWF to gather information necessary to proceed with future hunting opportunities on these properties. Every deer hunter in Kisatchie National Forest, except on the Caney Ranger District and the Vernon Unit of the Calcasieu Ranger District, during these dates, regardless of age, is required to have this permit. Deer hunters using dogs must register an identifying mark with LDWF. Each dog must wear a collar providing the owner’s name, address and phone number. To obtain a permit, the hunter must provide their name and address and the identifying mark used on all dogs engaged in the hunt.

For more information on how to obtain a permit, call Justin Rabalais at 225-765-2346 or the LDWF Pineville Field Office at 318-487-5885.
For more information on all other rules regarding hunting on the KNF, please visit: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/kisatchie/hunting/index.html.
For more information, contact Justin Rabalais at 225-765-2346 or jrabalais@wlf.la.gov.


Commission Modifies Rules on Commercial Harvest of Spotted Seatrout

Release Date: 09/02/2010


Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission modified the existing rules for the commercial harvest of spotted seatrout to extend the harvest season. This action was taken in an effort to remain consistent with legislation passed in the 2010 Regular Louisiana Legislative Session, which modified the season for the commercial harvest of spotted seatrout using a commercial rod and reel.  

The new rule states that the commercial season for the harvest of spotted seatrout shall remain open from the second day of January until the maximum annual quota, currently set at 1 million pounds, is reached, or on the date projected by the staff of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that the quota will be reached, or until sunset on Friday, December 31 of each year, whichever comes first.  Over the last decade, spotted seatrout harvest averaged just under 20,000 pounds annually.

With today’s action, the commercial harvest of spotted sea trout is prohibited within Louisiana waters west of the Mermentau River.

Public comments on the Notice of Intent will be accepted prior to November 5, 2010.  Comments should be submitted to Harry Blanchet, Fisheries Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000 , or via e-mail to:  hblanchet@wlf.la.gov.

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


L.D.W.F. Agent Receives Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award

Release Date: 09/02/2010

L.D.W.F. Agent Receives Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award

The National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) honoredLouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division Sgt. Joseph Ortis with the Louisiana Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.  Ortis received the award today, Sept. 2 at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting in Baton Rouge.

Ortis, of Oscar, joined LDWF in 1990 and became an agent in 1997 and mainly patrols the False River during the boating season.  Ortis also previously earned the 2004 LDWF Agent of the Year award.

"Sgt. Ortis is a valuable asset to the department and patrols one of the most recreationally used bodies of water in Pointe Coupee, Lafayette, St. Landry and West Baton Rouge parishes," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, LDWF's State Boating Law Administrator.  "This award is well deserved and reflects Sgt. Ortis' dedication to safe boating and waterway enforcement."

Ortis has attended both the Level One and Advanced Boating Accident Investigation Courses offered by NASBLA and has effectively utilized the knowledge and skills gained by his attendance in recent boating crash incidents.  Ortis also instructs boating safety classes and public boating safety forums.

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


First Tour Du Teche Canoe Race to be Held Sept. 17-19

Release Date: 09/02/2010


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division hasapproved a marine event permit for the upcoming Tour du Teche canoe race from Sept. 17-19.

The 130-mile race on Bayou Techewill begin at Port Barre on Sept. 17 at 8 a.m. with a finish line at Patterson.  There will be a 60-hour cutoff to finish this inaugural race.

To register for the race and more information on fees, the mandatory meeting on Sept. 16 and rules, please visit www.techeproject.com/tour-du-teche.html.

The Tour du Teche is a part of the Teach Ecology, Culture and History Education (TECHE) Project that originated in Summer 2009 in St. Landry Parish.  The project aims to make Bayou Teche a healthier waterway for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, tubing and swimming.

"The department was happy to issue a marine event permit for the inaugural Tour du Teche canoe race since it corresponds with the department's mission to conserve and protect the state's natural resources and met the permit approval guidelines," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne.  "We hope this canoe race really catches on and helps improve the recreational and aesthetic qualities of the Bayou Teche watershed in the future."

The department issues marine event permits for any organized event held on the water that introduces extra or unusual safety hazards on navigable waterways.  Permit forms can be found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/permits and must be turned in to the department at least 30 days prior to any event.

According to the Teche Project Web site, "One goal of the TECHE Project and Tour du Teche is to educate people about water quality and the need for nonpoint source pollution prevention and reduction.  Discovery can take place with an interactive, hands-on experience on and along Bayou Teche.  Tour du Teche will work with the National Park Service, parishes and towns to identify public access needs and help implement improvement activities.  Education kiosks will be built to provide self-directed education to boaters and paddlers about water quality, preventing non-point source pollution, native flora and birds, culture, history as well as boater safety information for children and adults."

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


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