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LDWF News Release

LDWF’s License to Win! Sweepstakes Winners Announced

Release Date: 08/13/2015

 

(Aug. 13, 2015) – As part of it’s first annual License to Win! promotion, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in partnership with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation awarded five lucky winners for its July saltwater license holder drawing.  Winners drawn on August 1 include John Burke, Candice Gussman, Sheila Lapeyrouse, Carla Pratt, Sanford Roy and Timothy Scanio.
 
The winners were among thousands of names entered when they purchased a 2015-16 recreational saltwater fishing license.
 
The sweepstakes includes fives monthly prize winners of a YETI Tundra 45 ice chest, Shimano Curado G-Loomis Combo or gift cards from Academy Sports and Outdoors, Texaco and Whole Foods Market.
 
The License to Win! sweepstakes encourages anglers to provide accurate contact information to participate in a survey (LA Creel) that helps LDWF manage their fishery.  LA Creel is the data-gathering survey that allows LDWF biologists to manage our fisheries at localized levels across the state.  The success of LA Creel will not only allow the Department to better manage fisheries, but will ultimately maximize the amount of fishing opportunities for Louisiana anglers. 
 
This promotion has just begun, so visit your nearest license vendor or go online (www.wildlifelicense.com) to purchase your recreational saltwater license to be eligible for next month’s drawing.  The department will continue to select five winners each month, and one lucky angler will take home the grand prize, a 22 foot bay boat, trailer and motor donated by Venice Marina, Mercury Outboards and Mike Gerald’s Trailer Depot.
 
Rules and additional information can be found at http://www.fishla.org/license-win-sweepstakes/
 
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.la.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

2015 White Lake W.C.A. Youth Waterfowl Hunts Announced

Release Date: 08/13/2015

Aug. 13, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for the 2015 youth waterfowl lottery hunts on White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) in Vermilion Parish.
 
There is no charge for the LDWF-sponsored hunts on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, provided as a quality experience for young waterfowl hunters. The participants in the hunts will be determined by a lottery drawing. Applications for the lottery should be submitted to LDWF before close of business on Sept. 11, 2015.
 
To be eligible, applicants must be between 10 and 15 years of age on the date of the hunt they select. In addition, all applicants must have a certificate showing they have satisfactorily completed an LDWF approved hunter education course.
 
Selected hunters must be accompanied in the blind by a parent or guardian, although the youth will be the only one permitted to possess a firearm.
 
Applications may be obtained by contacting any of LDWF's field offices or by visiting the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/lottery-applications .  Completed applications may be delivered in person to Room 422 of the LDWF headquarter building at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge, or sent by mail to:
 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Attention: White Lake Youth Waterfowl Hunt
2000 Quail Drive, Room 422
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
 
 
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 on White Lake WCA youth waterfowl hunts, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-536-9400, ext. 1 or wsweeney@wlf.la.gov .

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Mississippi Man Pleaded Guilty to Obtaining Illegal Hunting License

Release Date: 08/12/2015

A Mississippi man pleaded guilty in the 2nd Judicial District in Claiborne Parish to illegally obtaining a Louisiana resident hunting license on Aug. 7.

Judge Jennifer Clayson sentenced Lawrence P. Verzwyvelt Jr., of Long Beach, Miss., to pay a $500 fine plus $227 in court costs.  Verzwyvelt Jr. was also ordered to pay civil restitution for two illegally taken deer in the amount of $3,229.22.

On Dec. 20, 2014, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Senior Agent Bryant Coburn made contact with Verzwyvelt Jr. at a hunting camp in Claiborne Parish.  The agent was able to determine that Verzwyvelt was a Mississippi resident with an active Mississippi driver’s license, but was illegally hunting with Louisiana resident hunting and big game licenses.

Verzwyvelt Jr. admitted to the agent that he obtained the Louisiana hunting license with his Louisiana identification card.  He also admitted to harvesting deer in Louisiana with the illegally obtained Louisiana hunting license.

Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bays prosecuted the case.

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

Four Men Cited for Illegally Harvesting Shrimp

Release Date: 08/12/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited four men in two separate cases for alleged shrimping violations on August 11 and 12 in St. Bernard and Terrebonne parishes.

Agents were patrolling on Aug. 11 in the Lake Pelto area of Terrebonne Parish when they came across a skimming vessel actively shrimping.  Agents cited Jearmie Bourg Jr, 19, and Valerie Authement, 54, both of Chauvin, for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season and seized 434 pounds of shrimp.  Agents also cited Bourg for improper boat numbers.

Agents patrolling near the Back Levee Canal area of Hopedale observed a vessel actively shrimping on Aug. 12.  Agents cited Gregory Porche, 58, and Gregory Porche Jr., 28, both of Springfield, on Aug. 12 in St. Bernard Parish for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season.  There were no shrimp on board the Porche’s vessel as they were just getting started and the contents of the skimmers were returned to the water.

The inshore shrimp season is set to open on Aug. 17 at 6 a.m.

Using skimmers during a closed shrimp season brings a $400 to $950 fine and up 120 days in jail.  Operating a vessel with improper boat numbers brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

In addition to any and all other penalties, for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, and butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net, only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The court shall also sentence the violator to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Michael Garrity, Senior Agent Dean Aucoin, Agent Richie Bean, Sgt. Ted Dewitt and Lt. Joe Arnaud.

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

LDWF Announces Opening of the Michael C. Voisin Oyster Hatchery on Grand Isle

Release Date: 08/12/2015

August 12, 2015  Today officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG) celebrated the opening of thenewly constructed Michael C. Voisin Oyster Hatchery on Grand Isle.

 

Rep. Gordon E. Dove of Houma through legislation named the hatchery after the late Michael C. Voisin of Houma. Voisin, who passed away in 2013, was a respected leader in the oyster industry and served in many leadership roles including, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commissioner and chairman of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.  

 

Construction on the oyster hatchery, which is adjacent to the LDWF Fisheries Research Lab facilities, began in April 2013. The new elevated and temperature controlledhatchery features state-of the-art re-circulating water system that will enable production of hatchery-raised larvae and spat to occur year- round, significantly increasing the production capacity over previous years.  

 

The facility was funded through the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Early Restoration Process

 

LDWF is responsible for operating and maintaining the new oyster hatchery facility. Through a separate agreement with LDWF, LSG will provide technical direction on production of larvae and spat and training for LDWF staffunder supervision of LSG’s Dr. John Supan.  

 

“Oysters are very important to the history and culture of our state, said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  This oyster hatchery is a very important tool in rehabilitating the state’s valuable oyster resources in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”

 

Since 1993LSG has operated an oyster hatchery on Grand Isle in various locations.  In 2005, the hatchery wasdestroyed by Hurricane Katrina and LSG moved its operations to the LDWF Fisheries Research Lab, which allows LDWF and LSG to merge academic research projects and hatchery programs that benefit both the commercial harvesting sector and aid in management of the public seed grounds. 

 

“LSU is proud of the role our scientists play in Louisiana’s world-famous oyster industry, which supplies more than a third of our country’s oysters,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “This hatchery will provide critical support to resource that is integral to our state’s culture and identity.”

 

 

“Louisiana Sea Grant has a long history of supporting our state’s oyster industry, and an equally long history of working in partnership with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries,” said Robert Twilley, LSG executive director. “With this partnership, we look forward to entering into a new commitment of research and service that benefits our state’s oyster growers and harvesters.”

 

Currently, LDWF deploys hatchery raised Crassostrea virginica oyster larvae on the public seed grounds throughremote setting spat on-shell and by deploying free swimming larvae. Approximately 13 million spat and 400 million larvae were produced each year, on average, with past operations for use by LDWF in public seed ground rehabilitation projects. 

 

The new hatchery is capable of producing 1 billion Crassostrea virginica oyster larvae annually.  Those larvae will be utilized by LDWF for augmentation of six early restoration cultch plants. Any excess diploid larvae will be used for various oyster rehabilitation projects on the public seed grounds.   

 

For press release inquiries or photos contact Ashley Roth, aroth@wlf.la.gov or 228-342-0659.

 

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.To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

 

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant (www.laseagrant.org) has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at Louisiana State University, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 33 university-based programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico.

 
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Joint Investigation Leads to Illegal Fish Shocking Case

Release Date: 08/12/2015

Shocking Device Seized

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) in a joint investigation cited three Mississippi men for illegally shocking fish on the Pearl River on Aug. 11.

Investigators cited Lance O. Davis, 41, of Poplarville, Miss., James A. Howard, 51, of Poplarville, Miss., and Howard D. Restor, 40, of Lumberton, Miss., for taking fish using illegal methods and a federal Lacey Act violation for transporting illegally taken fish from Mississippi to Louisiana.

Investigators learned about the three men shocking fish on the Pearl River from an anonymous informant.  During the past month investigators from the two states set up surveillance on the river.

In the afternoon of Aug. 11 an LDWF agent observed the three men in a boat arrange and assemble a shocking device, which consisted of a long electrical wire attached to a small section of chain and a 12-volt electrical supply system.

The agent then observed the men in Washington Parish in Louisiana waters shocking the water and using a dip net to collect fish that came to the surface into the boat.  The agent then observed the vessel make its way into Mississippi waters and notified the MDWFP.

From a distance the LDWF agent was able to observe the men using the same shocking technique to collect fish in Mississippi waters.  He also watched the men come back into Louisiana waters and to their Louisiana camp on the western shore of the Pearl River.

LDWF and MDWFP agents made contact with the men at their camp.  They found the men in possession of 24 catfish filets, one whole catfish and other catfish parts.  LDWF agents seized the fish, 14-foot boat, shocking device and 25 horsepower motor.  Charges in Mississippi are still pending.

James A. Howard was also cited for failing to comply with personal flotation device requirements and failing to comply with engine cutoff safety switch requirements.

The Lacey Act violation brings up to a $10,000 fine and five years in jail.  Taking fish using illegal methods brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  The boating safety violations each bring a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case for LDWF are Capt. Len Yokum, Sgt. Darryl Galloway and Senior Agent Lee Davis.  MDWFP agents include Lt. Kallum Herrington, Sgts. Kelly Farmer and Mike Jones and Privates Bryant Deschamps, Jake Guess and Joey Herrington.

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

L.D.W.F. Accepting Applications Starting Aug. 13 for Waterfowl Group Hunts at White Lake W.C.A. for 2015-16 Hunting Season

Release Date: 08/11/2015

Aug. 11, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will begin accepting applications Aug. 13 for waterfowl group hunts for up to 12 hunters per group at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA). 
 
The cost of the 2015-16 waterfowl season hunts will be $30,000 for each group and the application form listing all available hunting dates can be downloaded from the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/lottery-applications .  A completed application form and $2,500 deposit must be submitted to LDWF by the close of business on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015.
 
Interested groups must select one, two-day group hunt per application.  When selecting dates from the dates offered (example: Nov. 14-15), it is understood that arrival will be the afternoon before (example: Nov. 13).  The two consecutive days of hunting do not include the arrival day, which will be the day before from 3 to 5 p.m.
 
LDWF will select one application by random lottery drawing for each hunt offered.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old and must submit a separate application for each two-day group hunt they wish to reserve. Applicants can apply for as many as three separate, two-day hunts. If multiple applications are submitted, each will require a separate $2,500 deposit.
 
Applications must be accompanied by a bank draft, money order or other liquid instrument made payable to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in the amount of $2,500.  If the application is selected, the deposit is non-refundable. The applicant will be notified by mail or e-mail, and will be required to submit the final payment of $27,500 no later than Oct. 15, 2015.
 
The fee covers up to 12 hunters and includes the following:  transportation to and from the airport (Jennings or Lake Charles or Lafayette), all food and beverages, two-night stay at the White Lake Lodge, professional hunting and fishing guides, hunting and fishing licenses, steel shot shotgun shells for waterfowl hunts and lead shot for skeet range, the use of shotguns and fishing gear, bird and fish cleaning and packaging.
 
On the arrival day, hunters will watch a safety film and then be issued hunting and fishing licenses. If time allows, the group will shoot skeet in the late afternoon hours.  Day two starts with a morning waterfowl hunt from 6 to 9:30 a.m.  After the hunt, during the afternoon of day two, the group can fish or shoot clay targets on the skeet range or sporting clays course.  On day three, a morning waterfowl hunt is scheduled from 6 to 9:30 a.m., and checkout is no later than noon, after lunch.
 
Applications must be mailed or delivered to:
 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Attention: White Lake Group Hunt
2000 Quail Drive, Room 422
Baton Rouge, LA   70808
For more information on White Lake WCA waterfowl group hunts, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-536-9400, ext. 1, or wsweeney@wlf.la.gov.
 

 

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Two More Men Cited for Closed Season Shrimping

Release Date: 08/11/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited two men for alleged shrimping violations on Aug. 10 in St. Bernard Parish.

Agents patrolling in Pumpkin Lake observed a skimming vessel actively shrimping around 4:30 a.m.  During the inspection, agents found 1,300 pounds of shrimp on board the vessel.

Agents cited Daniel Russell, 31, of New Orleans, and Ryan Engolia, 28, of Slidell, for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season and seized the shrimp.

The inshore shrimp season is set to open on Aug. 17 at 6 a.m.

Using skimmers during a closed shrimp season brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

In addition to any and all other penalties, for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, and butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net, only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The court shall also sentence the violator to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents participating in the case are Senior Agents Gary Pierce and Brett Nabors.

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

Another successful Louisiana recreational red snapper season closes; federal charter captains miss out on potential benefits

Release Date: 08/11/2015

(August 11, 2015) The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced the state recreational red snapper season will close at 12:01 a.m. on September 8th. We anticipate that private recreational anglers will have harvested our state’s historic and projected share of the total Gulf of Mexico private angler red snapper harvest  (745,000 pounds, or 18 percent of the total) on this date. The state season has been open since March 20, 2015.
 
For the past two years, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has opened a separate recreational red snapper season in state waters to extend Louisiana’s season beyond the federal season. Set based on imprecise, untimely estimates of recreational red snapper landings from the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), federal seasons have been overly restrictive in recent years and have short-changed anglers on fishing days and their share of the annual harvest. Fortunately, LDWF replaced MRIP with LA Creel, an improved recreational landings data collection program, and is able to precisely monitor recreational landings in real-time and set flexible seasons that allow our anglers to take full advantage of the available red snapper resource.
 
“In Louisiana, our anglers and staff are committed to providing the best data possible on our fisheries. Because of this, we’re able to be fully accountable for the amount of red snapper our anglers harvest and responsibly manage our recreational fishing seasons,” said Robert Barham, Secretary of LDWF. “Most of all, we’re able to maximize our anglers’ opportunities to get out on the water and fish red snapper, providing our private anglers 172 red snapper fishing days during this state season.”
 
Unfortunately, these opportunities did not extend to the entire saltwater fishing population. In 2014, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted to amend the management plan for the Gulf red snapper fishery and separate the recreational sector into two components: federally-permitted charter captains and private anglers (including charter captains without federal permits). This amendment also allocated the quota between the two components and established separate seasons for recreational red snapper fishing in federal waters. NOAA Fisheries implemented these provisions for the first time for the 2015 fishing season. For 2015, federal charter captains received 2.371 million pounds of the catch and were allowed to fish June 1 through July 15, 2015; private anglers received 3.234 million pounds and were allowed to fish June 1 through June 11, 2015.
 
While our private anglers and non-federally permitted charter captains were able to fish during our extended state season after federal waters closed, federally-permitted charter captains had to cease operations as federal law prohibits them from fishing outside of the federal season. In the end, these captains and our industry lost out on thousands of pounds of potential red snapper catch and numerous fishing trips, which translate into lost economic benefits. Specifically, based on the formula the Council used to separate the private and charter sectors, federally-permitted Louisiana charter captains historically landed 11.4 percent of the Gulfwide charter landings of red snapper and should have had the opportunity to land 338 thousand pounds of red snapper for 2015. However, observed landings fell well short of that figure—the charter sector only landed around 215 thousand pounds, or 64 percent of their historic landings. With 36 percent of their projected and historic share left unharvested, federal charter captains could have likely run fishing trips for several more months, had they been able to participate in the flexible state season.   
 
“The benefits our private anglers enjoyed in 2015 did not extend to our entire recreational fishing industry because the charter sector was shut down before they could harvest their share of the total Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper harvest,” said Randy Pausina, Assistant Secretary for Fisheries, LDWF. “Louisiana’s federally-permitted charter captains were allocated 338 thousand pounds and given a 45-day season.  During that season they were only able to land 215 thousand pounds, leaving 123,000 pounds on the table.  This resulted in lost opportunities for our charter captains due to NOAA Fisheries’ inability to monitor landings in real-time during the season and appropriately manage the fishery. We’ll continue to do whatever we can to improve how this fishery operates, but until LDWF has the full authority to manage this fishery, private anglers and charter businesses will continue to suffer.”
 
LDWF is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb, or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.  To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.
 
For press inquiries, contact Rene LeBreton at rlebreton@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8745.

Russell Sage WMA Expands with Acquisition of Kennedy Tract

Release Date: 08/10/2015

Russell Sage WMA Expands with Acquisition of Kennedy Tract
Aug. 10, 2015 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has expanded Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area following purchase of 2,767 acres that will be added to the southern tip of the existing WMA property.
 
The acreage borders Bayou Lafourche within Ouachita and Caldwell Parishes and will increase the WMA to 37,612 acres. The land, known as the Kennedy tract, was purchased with $10.25 million from the department’s Conservation Fund.
 
LDWF will begin working on boundary posting, parking area development and access trails development to be ready for public use during the 2016-17 hunting season.
Until that time, the property will remain closed to the public.
 
Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area includes acreage in Caldwell, Morehouse, Ouachita and Richland Parishes, and is located approximately seven miles east of Monroe and ten miles west of Rayville.  Access is provided via U.S. Highway 80, U.S. Highway 165, LA Highway 15 and Interstate Highway 20.
 
The WMA total acreage includes the former Ouachita Wildlife Management Area that was consolidated with Russell Sage WMA in March 2015. Additional U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property totaling 2,954 acres and Ouachita Parish School Board property totaling 1,240 acres are managed by LDWF as part of the WMA.  Russell Sage WMA is distinguished as the very first department-owned wildlife management area when the original acreage was purchased in 1960.
 
For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359 or 318-487-5885, or ssmith@wlf.la.gov.

 

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