LDWF News

LDWF News Release

July 4 Boat Explosion on Old River Injures Five

Release Date: 07/06/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents patrolling Old River in Pointe Coupee Parish responded to a call about a boat explosion after 7 p.m. on July 4. The boat had 6 passengers on board at the time of the explosion and all passengers, including the operator, ended up in the water.

The boat's occupants were quickly pulled from the water by West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s deputies working in the area and taken back to the boat launch. Agents responding found that Matthew P. Wilkes, 26, of Lakeland, was operating a 19-foot ski boat on Old River, when for unknown reasons the engine compartment exploded. Five of the passengers received third degree burns on their legs and backs. The injured were taken by Acadian Ambulance and Acadian Air Med to local hospitals for immediate medical treatment of their burns.

Those injured were: Raina Brown, 24, of Baton Rouge; Todd Hymel, 27, of Baton Rouge; Chris Duet, 25, of Baton Rouge; Keith Silvio, 25, of Baton Rouge; and Dustin Musso, 28, of Baton Rouge. Wilkes and passenger Allyson Marshall, 23, of Lakeland, were not injured.

The accident is currently under investigation by LDWF's Enforcement Division. Agents working the investigation are Sgt. Chris Carpenter and Senior Agent Allan Marbury. The West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office, Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office and LDWF all responded to the incident.

For more information, contact Capt. Lastie Cormier, ph. 337-948-0257 or lcormier@wlf.la.gov

2010-208

LDWF Modifies Recreational Closures to Allow Catch and Release Fishing for Finsish

Release Date: 07/06/2010

 

In an effort to stimulate economic activity in coastal Louisiana, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced a modification to the state waters fishing closures to allow the recreational catch and release of finfish in closed areas effective immediately, today, July 6, 2010.

Recreational catch-and-release fishing is allowed as long as no finfish are possessed in the closed area. This modification is limited to finfish only and does not apply to other species such as shrimp, crabs, and other non-finfish species.

Fishermen can continue to transit through the closed areas with fish legally harvested from open waters but may not fish in a closed area while possessing any species of fish.

"Even at this critical time, we want to offer our anglers every opportunity to continue to enjoy the sport," said Barham. "This option has been on the table for some time now and is part of our ongoing effort to be proactive as we continue to write the play book on this event."

While participating in catch and release fishing, the department urges interested anglers to sign up for the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program. Through this program, volunteer anglers provide information that is difficult, often impossible, and expensive to obtain by other means. For additional information, interested anglers can contact fishtags@wlf.louisiana.gov.

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

For more information please contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or 225.721.0489

2010-209

LDWF MODIFIES FISHING CLOSURES IN PORTIONS OF PLAQUEMINES, ST. BERNARD, ORLEANS AND ST. TAMMANY PARISHES

Release Date: 07/05/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced the following closure to recreational and commercial fishing in portions of Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes effective immediately today, July 5, 2010.

These precautionary fishing closures are due to new reports of oil, strong easterly winds and higher than normal tides.

St. Bernard, Orleans and St. Tammany Parish Closures

The portion of saltwater water areas of the state east of the Mississippi River north of the southern shoreline of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and the southern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain from the double rig line westward to 89 degrees 51 minutes 35 seconds west longitude and the US Hwy 11 bridge in Lake Pontchartrain.  In addition to those waters currently closed to recreational and commercial fishing, major water bodies included in this fishing closure include the Biloxi Marsh, Lake Borgne, Lake St. Catherine, Chef Menteur, Unknown and Rigoletes Passes and a portion of Lake Pontchartrain.

St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish Closures

The portion of state inside waters east of the Mississippi River north of 29 degrees 30 minutes 00 seconds north latitude and south of the southern shoreline of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet from the double rig line westward to 89 degrees 41 minutes 00 seconds west longitude. In addition to those waters currently closed to recreational and commercial fishing, major water bodies included in this fishing closure include Lakes Machias and Fortuna, Bay Gardene and Bay Crabe and Black and California Bays.

Precautionary closures of recreational and commercial fishing have been implemented based on the best information the Secretary of the department receives from field biologists, staff and trajectory models from NOAA.

Once reports of oil are received, LDWF initiates a field survey and immediate seafood testing in the suspected areas. Closures are subsequently made with the intent to be as safe as possible, while not closing any fishing areas unnecessarily. As test results come back clearing the area, effected waters are then reopened.

LDWF continues to work closely with DHH in an effort to assess all opportunities to resume normal fishing activities on Louisiana's coast and guarantee the safety of Louisiana's seafood.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit 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 www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.

For more information contact Marianne Burke at mburke@wlf.la.gov or 225-315-6878.

2010-207

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LDWF MODIFIES FISHING CLOSURES IN PORTIONS OF PLAQUEMINES AND ST. BERNARD PARISHES

Release Date: 07/05/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced the following closure to recreational and commercial fishing in portions of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes effective immediately today, July 5, 2010.

These precautionary fishing closures are due to new reports of oil, strong easterly winds and higher than normal tides.

The portion of state inside waters east of the Mississippi River north of the eastern shore of Main Pass and south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet from the double rig line westward to the eastern shore of the Mississippi River and north along 89 degrees 42 minutes 32 seconds west longitude near the western shore of the twin pipeline canals.

Precautionary closures of recreational and commercial fishing have been implemented based on the best information the Secretary of the department receives from field biologists, staff and trajectory models from NOAA.

Once reports of oil are received, LDWF initiates a field survey and immediate seafood testing in the suspected areas. Closures are subsequently made with the intent to be as safe as possible, while not closing any fishing areas unnecessarily. As test results come back clearing the area, effected waters are then reopened.

LDWF continues to work closely with LDHH in an effort to assess all opportunities to resume normal fishing activities on Louisiana's coast and guarantee the safety of Louisiana's seafood.

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 Marianne Burke, 226-315-6878 or mburke@wlf.la.gov.

2010-207

LDWF MODIFIES FISHING CLOSURES IN A PORTION OF ST. BERNARD PARISH

Release Date: 07/02/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced the following closure to recreational and commercial fishing in a portion of St. Bernard Parish effective immediately today, July 2.

This precautionary fishing closure is due to strong east to southeast winds and higher than normal tides influenced by Hurricane Alex and the proximity of oil in portions of inshore and offshore state waters.

The portion of state waters in St. Bernard Parish north of 29 degrees 47 minutes 00 seconds north latitude from the double-rig line in Breton and Chandeleur Sounds westward to 89 degrees 25 minutes 00 seconds west longitude.

Precautionary closures of recreational and commercial fishing have been implemented based on the best information the Secretary of the department receives from field biologists, staff and trajectory models from NOAA.

Once reports of oil are received, LDWF initiates a field survey and immediate seafood testing in the suspected areas. Closures are subsequently made with the intent to be as safe as possible, while not closing any fishing areas unnecessarily. As test results come back clearing the area, effected waters are then reopened.

LDWF continues to work closely with DHH in an effort to assess all opportunities to resume normal fishing activities on Louisiana's coast and guarantee the safety of Louisiana's seafood.

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 Marianne Burke, 225-765-2917 or mburke@wlf.la.gov.

2010-206

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JOINT INVESTIGATION INTO POACHING RING ON MILITARY INSTALLATION LEADS TO GUILTY PLEAS

Release Date: 07/01/2010

On June 23, 2010, two U.S. Army soldiers pled guilty in U.S. Magistrate Court to illegal hunting activities on Peason Ridge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in 2006 and 2007.

Sergeant First Class (SFC) William M. Hutt, 36, of Pitkin, and SFC Andres I. Medrano, 36, of DeRidder, both pled guilty to one count each of taking deer during a closed season and taking turkey during a closed season.  A third defendant, Roderick R. Lowers (U.S. Army retired), 42, of DeRidder, also reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney?s Office in which his charges were dropped in exchange for his testimony against Hutt and Medrano.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division began the investigation in October 2007, after agents received information that soldiers were killing a large number of deer illegally on the Peason Ridge WMA during training exercises. 

Peason Ridge WMA is owned by the U.S. Army and is used for live fire training exercises by the military.  The 20,000-acre WMA is enclosed by a fence and all access points are locked during live fire training for security and safety concerns.  Hutt, Medrano and Lowers used their military positions to keep the WMA locked down after live fire training exercises in order to poach deer and turkey.

Federal Magistrate Kathleen Kay accepted the guilty pleas and ordered both Hutt and Medrano to each pay a fine and court cost in the amount of $1,920.  She also revoked their hunting privileges for five years and placed them on supervised probation for two years. 

Magistrate Kay also ordered the men to pay restitution to LDWF for the illegally taken deer and turkeys.  Hutt is responsible to pay restitution in the amount of $7,374.94 for 11 deer and two turkeys.  Medrano is responsible to pay restitution in the amount of $6,357.24 for six deer and four turkeys.

Lowers agreement includes a lifetime ban from hunting on government land and to pay restitution to LDWF in the amount of $524.54 for one deer.

Agents seized two 30-30 caliber rifles, a .223 caliber rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, one skinning gambrel and hoist, one 9-point buck deer rack and cape, four turkey gobbler beards, and one turkey leg spur in connection with the case.

LDWF Lt. Bill Tyree initiated and led the investigation and was assisted by Sgt. Curt Belton, Sgt. Joe Dewil, Senior Agent Ronnie Robertson, Specialist Lynn Bennett, and Fort Polk Game Wardens J.E. Haymon and Elton Herring and Stanley Wellman assisted in the case.

For more information, contact Capt. Peter Oliver at 318-487-5634 or poliver@wlf.la.gov.

2010-E38

TWO MEN ARRESTED FOR MULTIPLE CRAB TRAP VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 07/01/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents apprehended two men for multiple counts of alleged crab trap violations in Lake Maruepas on June 24.

Acting upon a complaint from a commercial crab fisherman, agents observed Joseph Lamarca, 20, from Ponchatoula, crab fishing using allegedly stolen traps.  When confronted, Lamarca claimed to have purchased the stolen traps from Michael Shea King, 19, of Hammond.  

Agents confronted King whom admitted to have stolen the crab traps from a dock with the assistance of Lamarca.  Lamarca confessed and both subjects were arrested.  Also, while crabbing, Lamarca did not possess a vessel license, fire extinguisher and did not tag all crab traps per regulations.

If convicted of theft of crab traps (five counts each), Lamarca and King could face fines of $400 to $950, or jail time up to 120 days, or both plus court costs for each count.  

Lamarca was also cited with Illegal possession of stolen property (five counts), possessing commercial fish without a vessel license, no fire extinguisher and using crab traps without required markings (15 counts). 

If Lamarca is convicted of Illegal possession of stolen property, he faces a fine up to $3,000, imprisonment with or without hard labor for up to 10 years or both for each count.  The penalty for possessing commercial fish without a vessel license is punishable by a fine of $250 to $500, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court costs.  The penalty for failing to have a fire extinguisher is a fine of $50.  The penalty for using crab traps without required marking is a $250 to $500 fine, or up to 90 days in jail plus court costs.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Dane Thomas, Sgt. Guy Adams, Sr. Agent Clarence Marques and Sr. Agent Buck Hampton.

For more information, contact Capt. Len Yokum at 225-765-2999 or lyokum@wlf.la.gov.

2010-E40

AGENDA ANNOUNCED FOR LOUISIANA WILDLIFE & FISHERIES COMMISSION JULY MEETING

Release Date: 07/01/2010

The next regular public board meeting has been scheduled by the Commission for 9:30 A.M. on Thursday, July 8, 2010, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.
 
1.            Roll Call
 
2.            Approval of Minutes of June 3, 2010
 
3.            Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
 
4.            To receive and hear Update on Oil Spill and Current Response Efforts
 
5.            To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/June
 
6.            To receive an update on Dewey Wills WMA Resolution for purpose of Adding Land
 
7.            To receive and consider Notice of Intent on 2011 Turkey Hunting Areas, Seasons and Bag Limits
 
8.            To receive and consider Notice of Intent on 2011 General and WMA Turkey Hunting Regulations
 
9.            To receive and consider Department Recommendation on Waterfowl Breeding Grounds Projects Funding
 
10.            To receive and consider Early Migratory Bird Season Recommendations (Dove, Woodcock, Snipe, Rails, Gallinules and Teal)
 
11.            To receive and hear Presentation on the Louisiana Waterfowl Hunter Survey
 
12.            To receive and consider Declaration of Emergency and Notice of Intent on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill
 
13.            Set November 2010 Meeting Date
 
14.            Receive Public Comments
 
15.            Adjournment

2010-205

SHRIMP SEASON TO CLOSE IN ZONE 2

Release Date: 07/01/2010

The 2010 spring inshore shrimp season in Shrimp Management Zone 2 will close at 6:00 am Monday, July 5, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today.  Zone 2 includes state waters from the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island.

Zones 1 and 3 will remain open until further notice and state outside waters west of 91 degrees 07 minutes 48 seconds west longitude will also remain open to shrimping.

Zone 1 includes state waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line to the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River and Zone 3 includes state waters from the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to the Louisiana/Texas state line.

It is important to note this closure is based on biological recommendations made by LDWF Office of Fisheries biologists and is not related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The latest data gathered by LDWF biologists indicates the presence of an increased number of juvenile white shrimp.  This area is being closed in an effort to protect this developing crop.

For more information please contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or 225.721.0489

2010-204

LDWF MODIFIES FISHING CLOSURES IN PORTIONS OF TERREBONNE, PLAQUEMINES, ST. BERNARD, LAFOURCHE AND JEFFERSON PARISHES

Release Date: 07/01/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced the following closure to recreational and commercial fishing in portions of inside and outside waters in Terrebonne, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes and inside waters in Lafourche and Jefferson parishes effective immediately today, July 1, 2010.

These are precautionary fishing closures are due to strong east to southeast winds and higher than normal tides influenced by Hurricane Alex and the proximity of oil in portions of inshore and offshore state waters.

Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes

The portion of state inside waters south of 29 degrees 13 minutes 12 seconds north latitude from the Houma Navigation Canal red bouy line westward to the eastern shore of Oyster Bayou and the portion of state outside waters from 90 degrees 46 minutes 01 seconds west longitude westward to 91 degrees 07 minutes 48 seconds west longitude near the eastern shore of Oyster Bayou.

Lafourche and Jefferson Parishes

The portion of state inside waters south of 29 degrees 16 minutes 00 seconds north latitude from 90 degrees 07 minutes 00 seconds west longitude westward to the eastern shore of Bayou Lafourche.

Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes

The open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double-rig line and all state outside waters east of the Mississippi River.

Precautionary closures of recreational and commercial fishing have been implemented based on the best information the Secretary of the department receives from field biologists, staff and trajectory models from NOAA.

Once reports of oil are received, LDWF initiates a field survey and immediate seafood testing in the suspected areas. Closures are subsequently made with the intent to be as safe as possible, while not closing any fishing areas unnecessarily. As test results come back clearing the area, effected waters are then reopened.

LDWF continues to work closely with DHH in an effort to assess all opportunities to resume normal fishing activities on Louisiana's coast and guarantee the safety of Louisiana's seafood.

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 Marianne Burke, 225-765-2917 or mburke@wlf.la.gov.

2010-203

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