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LDWF News Release

Louisiana, other Gulf states agree on state-based management framework for red snapper, ask Congress for consideration

Release Date: 03/13/2015

March 13, 2015
 
In an historic and unprecedented move, all five Gulf states have unanimously agreed on a new framework for cooperative state-based management of Gulf red snapper and have submitted it to the Gulf states’ congressional delegations for their consideration for future legislation. This alternative management strategy would remove red snapper from federal authority and place responsibility for this highly valuable species in the hands of a new, independent body called the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA), comprised of the principle marine fisheries managers from each Gulf state.
 
There has been increasing dissatisfaction among both Gulf state management authorities and their stakeholders with current management of the red snapper fishery. While the Gulf red snapper population is rebuilding, recreational red snapper fishing seasons have gotten shorter; in fact, the 2014 nine-day federal red snapper season was the shortest in history. Federal managers set fishing seasons using imprecise estimates of recreational red snapper landings from the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). Using these faulty data, they inaccurately estimate fishing quotas and are forced to set overly restrictive seasons. In addition, MRIP data are often not available to managers until after the fishing season is closed, prohibiting any kind of flexible, responsive management.
 
Along with the other Gulf states, Louisiana is confident that we can provide precise landings estimates and more frequent stock assessments—the data needed to better manage this fishery and allow our fishermen to take full advantage of the available resource. The states are also more receptive and can be more responsive to the wants and needs of constituents—we can set flexible, tailored management measures that address local needs as well as Gulf-wide conservation goals. However, we cannot do this under the current management framework, which is why we have proposed the GSRSMA framework. “A change has been a long time coming—we want to thank the state directors for pulling together to create a viable solution for fixing red snapper management, “ said Robert Barham, LDWF Secretary.
 
Under the GSRSMA framework, each state would be responsible for all management of red snapper in their respective state and adjacent federal waters. The GSRSMA would approve each state’s management plan, coordinate population assessments, provide consistent accountability measures, and distribute federal funding for research, assessment, and management. See complete details of the proposed framework here.  “If this framework comes to fruition, Louisiana is very well positioned to hit the ground running due to our anglers’ active participation in our recreational creel survey, LA Creel, and associated support for a saltwater license fee increase,” said Randy Pausina, LDWF Assistant Secretary for Fisheries.
 
The Gulf states chose to submit this proposal together to demonstrate that we place great value in working together in partnership and collaboration to ensure we have a robust, sustainable, and accessible red snapper fishery in the Gulf. The Gulf states will continue to reach out to their congressional delegations to discuss the proposal and request their support for this new management framework agreed upon by each Gulf state.
 
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 press inquiries, contact Rene LeBreton at rlebreton@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8745.

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Louisiana Oyster Task Force Research Committee to Meet March 18, 2015 in New Orleans

Release Date: 03/13/2015

The Louisiana Oyster Task Force (LOTF) Research Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 1 p.m.

UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, suite 210, New Orleans. 

Agenda:

I.  Roll call and introduction of guests

II.  Discussion Items

A.     In-shell versus meat weight conversion

   B.  Trip ticket versus severance tax update

   C.  Status update of the public oyster grounds  

III.  Public Comment

IV.  Set Next Meeting

V.  Adjourn

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend. 

 

To attend via webinar, use the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7883995715535429122

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 press inquiries please contact Ashley Roth, 504-286-4162 or aroth@wlf.la.gov

To sign up for LDWF Alerts sent as text messages and emails directly to your mobile device click   here.

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Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Scheduled to Meet March 17, 2015

Release Date: 03/12/2015

The Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council will meet Tuesday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting in the Louisiana Room is as follows:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes of Oct. 21, 2014

3. Welcome and Opening Comments – Chairman

4. Enforcement Division Report

5. Office of Wildlife: Overview of WMA Master Plan

6. Office of Fisheries Report: Red Snapper Management

7. Office of Management and Finance: Annual Report

8. Pre-Session Legislative Update

9. Set Next Meeting Date

10. Receive Public Comments

11. Adjournment

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

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Thibodaux Man Sentenced as Repeat Duck Hunting Offender

Release Date: 03/11/2015

Two Louisiana Men pleaded guilty in Federal Court on March 10 in Orleans Parish for duck hunting violations that occurred in 2014.

Judge Joseph Wilkinson Jr. sentenced Lloyd Badeaux, 67, of Thibodaux, and Bobby Chauvin, 76, of Theriot, to each pay a $560 fine for violating non-toxic shot requirements while duck hunting.  Badeaux was also sentenced to serve 30 days in jail for violating his hunting ban from a previous hunting conviction.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents first cited Badeaux for taking over the limit of ducks in January of 2012 in Terrebonne Parish.  Agents found Badeaux 48 black bellied whistling ducks over his daily limit.  Badeaux pleaded guilty to the charge in April of 2013 and was fined $5,010 and placed on three years of probation with no hunting.

Prior to the opening of the 2014/15 migratory game bird season, LDWF agents with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) agents received information that Badeaux would be duck hunting on opening weekend.  On Nov. 15, 2014, LDWF and USFWS agents set up surveillance where Badeaux was thought to be hunting in Terrebonne Parish near Dularge.

The agents found Badeaux actively hunting ducks in a duck blind and made contact with him and Chauvin.  Agents found that both subjects were in possession of lead shot shotgun shells while hunting migratory game birds.

Agents cited both men for violating non-toxic shot requirements.  Badeaux was also cited for violations of his federal probation.

Agents involved in the case were LDWF Sgt. Thomas Dewitt, and Senior Agents Dean Aucoin, Stephen Rhodes and Thomas Wolf.

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

Two Men Cited for Changing Freshness Dates on Seafood Packages

Release Date: 03/10/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men for alleged commercial seafood labeling violations on March 4 in Orleans Parish.

Agents cited Sean Delaune, 26, of New Orleans, for misbranding seafood packages and Thomas Smith, 49, of Darien, Georgia, for conspiring to misbrand seafood packages.  Agents seized 14,850 pounds of mahi-mahi filets from the men.

During an inspection of the Gulf Atlantic Fisheries seafood wholesalers in New Orleans, agents observed packages of mahi-mahi filets being repacked from one bag labeled for retail sale into another bag labeled for retail sale.  Further inspection of the two bags showed the major difference between the bags was the "best by" dates.

The bags that had the mahi mahi filets had a best by date of  September of 2013 being repackaged into bags with May of 2016 best by dates.

Louisiana law prohibits acts that are falsely represented using any mark, stamp, tag, label or other authorized information.

Misbranding seafood brings up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year of imprisonment.  Conspiring to misbrand seafood brings up to a $500 fine and up to six months of imprisonment.  Further punishment is the loss of the product that totaled 14,850 pounds of mahi mahi filets.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Edward Ridgel, Sr. Agents Michael Williams and Michael Marques and Lt. Louis Burnett.  Further citations may be pending.

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

LDWF Agents Arrest Man In Connection with Cut Down Trees on Spring Bayou WMA

Release Date: 03/06/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Hessmar man this morning, March 6, for his alleged involvement in the cutting down of trees on the Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Avoyelles Parish.

After conducting their investigation and receiving an anonymous tip, agents arrested Rick K. Savoy, 48, at his residence for criminal damage to state property.  He was also arrested for operating an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) off of a WMA ATV trail, not complying with WMA self-clearing permit regulations and interference with navigation.

LDWF found up to 100 trees cut down on the WMA since early December of 2014.  Agents believe the trees were cut down to block navigation to the northern part of the WMA in order to keep other hunters out of the area.  The trees blocked all three entrances to an area known as the “Bean Field” in the northwest corner of the WMA.

The trees ranged from 10 inches to 30 inches in diameter and up to 50 foot tall including cypress, oak and willow trees.

LDWF agents booked Savoy into the Avoyelles Parish Jail in Marksville.

The penalty for cutting down trees on a WMA is criminal damage of state property and brings up to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail.  There may also be a civil restitution charge for the replacement value of the trees and cleanup required.

Operating an ATV off of a WMA ATV trail and failing to comply with self-clearing permit WMA regulations each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Interference with navigation carries a $50 fine and to 15 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Lt. John Volentine, Sgts. Gabe Guidry, Chad Watts and Bear Fletcher, and Senior Agents Doug Anderson Jr., Jay Callegari, Heath Wood, Kurt Hatten, Dale Wheat, Kenny Robertson and John Hattaway.  Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew Smith and Detective Jeremiah Honea also assisted in the case.

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

Commission Adopts Notice of Intent to Amend the Proposed Rule Addressing Vessel Restrictions on Biloxi WMA

Release Date: 03/05/2015

March 5, 2015 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted a notice of intent today to amend the proposed rule on vessel restrictions on Biloxi Wildlife Management Area in St. Bernard Parish.
 
The amendment, as proposed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), reads as follows:
 
“Mud boats or air-cooled propulsion vessels can only be powered by straight shaft “long tail” air-cooled, mud motors that are 25 total horsepower or less on the WMA. All other types of mud boats or air cooled propulsion vessels (including “surface drive” boats) are prohibited.”
 
The original NOI had set the maximum total power limit at 16 hp. The rule change was proposed in an effort to reduce marsh damage and erosion on the property. To view the amended notice of intent, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items .
 
Interested persons may submit written comments relative to the proposed rule change to Steve Smith, LDWF Wildlife Division, Post Office Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or ssmith@wlf.la.gov until 4:30 p.m. on April 1, 2015.
 
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.

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New Iberia Man Charged with Illegal Killing of Louisiana Black Bear

Release Date: 03/05/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a New Iberia man for allegedly killing a Louisiana black bear on Feb. 28 in St. Mary Parish.

Agents received a call from a hunting group that Richard A. Picard Jr., 52, illegally shot and killed a Louisiana black bear while he was hog hunting.

Picard Jr. was hog hunting with a group of hunters near Cypremort Point when he shot a 350 pound Louisiana Black Bear.  Picard Jr. claims to have mistakenly identified the black bear as a wild hog.

He shot the five year old male bear with buckshot from his 12 gauge shotgun.  Agents seized Picard Jr.’s shotgun and issued him a citation for killing the bear.

Killing a Louisiana Black Bear brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Picard Jr. also faces up to $10,000 civil restitution for the replacement value of the black bear.

Hunters are advised to always identify their targets before pulling the trigger for any wildlife they may be hunting.

Agents involved in the care are Senior Agent Joey Thompson, Senior Agent Jake Darden, Senior Agent Jason Marks and Senior Agent Cullom Schexnyder.

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

OYSTER SEASON TO OPEN IN A PORTION OF THE PUBLIC GROUNDS

Release Date: 03/05/2015

March 5, 2015- Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a Declaration of Emergency to open the oyster season in a portion of the public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River and north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, including Lake Borgne and Mississippi Sound, at one-half hour before sunrise on March 16, 2015 through one-half hour after sunset on March 31, 2015.  This area was originally scheduled to open on October 20, 2014, but was delayed to protect a successful spatfall event in the area.  During the period of this opening, and only in this portion of the public oyster seed grounds, no sack limit and no sacking-only area shall be in effect. The 2013 cultch plants located in Drum Bay and 3-Mile Pass shall remain closed.

To view a detailed map of this area click here

The Commission authorized Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Secretary Robert J. Barham to take emergency action to close areas, on an as-needed basis, based on biological data or if enforcement problems are encountered.  The Secretary was also authorized to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open areas if substantial oyster resources are located. 

Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

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 press inquiries, contact Ashley Roth at 504-286-4162 or aroth@wlf.la.gov

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Mississippi Man Arrested for Possession of Stolen Personal Watercraft

Release Date: 03/05/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Mississippi man for alleged possession of stolen property on March 3.

Agents arrested Donald Juan, 36, of Picayune, Miss., after finding him in possession of two stolen personal watercrafts and a trailer that belonged to a New Orleans man.

The personal watercrafts and trailer were reported stolen in the summer of 2013.  LDWF agents received an anonymous tip that the stolen watercrafts were located in Slidell in St. Tammany Parish in February of 2015.

After further investigation, agents were able to trace the personal watercrafts back to Juan.  Agents booked him into the St. Tammany Parish Jail and seized the personal watercrafts and trailer.

It is unknown at this time who was responsible for stealing the personal watercrafts and trailer in 2013.  Agents believe that Juan fully knew they were stolen when he acquired the stolen property.

Possession of stolen property brings up to a $3,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Senior Agent Michael Marquez and Mike Williams.

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

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