LDWF News

LDWF News Release

NOAA Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule to Require Turtle Excluder Devices on Skimmer Trawls, Pusher-Head Trawls, and Wing Nets (Butterfly Trawls)

Release Date: 12/19/2016

NOAA Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule to Require Turtle Excluder Devices on Skimmer Trawls, Pusher-Head Trawls, and Wing Nets (Butterfly Trawls)

(12-16-16) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to notify the public that NOAA will be holding three meetings in Louisiana to solicit public input on this proposed rule.

1.Larose, LA - January 9, 2017, 4pm-6pm, Larose Regional Park and Civic Center, 307 East 5th Street, Larose, LA 70373

2.Gretna, LA - January 10, 2017, 12pm-2pm, Coastal Communities Consulting, Inc., 925 Behrman Highway, Suite 15, Gretna, LA 70056

3.Belle Chasse, LA - January 10, 2017, 4pm-6pm, Belle Chasse Community Center, 8398 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, LA 70037

NOAA is proposing to withdraw current tow time restrictions and instead require all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets (butterfly trawls) rigged for fishing to have turtle excluder devices (TEDs) to prevent small sea turtles from getting caught in these nets. The intent of this proposed rule is to reduce incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles in southeastern U.S. shrimp fisheries, and to aid in the protection and recovery of threatened and endangered sea turtle populations.

NOAA is also proposing to amend the definition of tow times to better clarify the intent and purpose of tow times to reduce sea turtle mortality, and to refine additional portions of the TED requirements to avoid potential confusion.

Click the link below for the full rule as proposed by NOAA:

www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0151

Additional Methods for Submitting Public Comment

You may also submit comments by any of the following methods. Written comments will be accepted through February 14, 2017. NOAA may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends.

Online through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:

·      Go to www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0151

·      Click the “Comment Now!' icon

·      Complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. You may submit attachments in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

MailMichael Barnette, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

Fax: 727-824-5309; Attention: Michael Barnette

For more information, contact Michael Barnette at 727-551-5794.

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

LDWF Issues Charter-for-Hire License Holder Reminders

Release Date: 12/19/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to remind all charter-for-hire license holders of the following requirements when purchasing their license.
 
·      A valid U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License
·      A valid Louisiana Recreational Fishing License
·      A Louisiana Driver’s License, ID card or other acceptable evidence of residency (if seeking a resident license)
·      Proof of Liability Insurance
o   The liability insurance must be in the name of the license applicant and currently in force. (In the event that the insurance policy is in the name of a corporation, LLC, or partnership, LDWF will accept a letter from the insurance company on official letterhead indicating that the individual is covered under the policy or a rider naming the individual on the policy).
o   The liability insurance required shall be written by an insurance company with at least an A- rating in the latest printing of the A.M. Best’s Key Rating Guide.
o   The liability insurance must be of a commercial nature and not associated with a primary residential property.
o   The liability insurance coverage shall not be less than $300,000 per occurrence.
 
Proof of the above requirements must be shown when purchasing or renewing your license in person at LDWF headquarters.  When purchasing the license on-line, a temporary 30-day license will be issued.  Once the applicant supplies the required documentation to the Department, the permanent license will be mailed to the applicant.  For on-line purchases, documentation may be submitted by e-mail to charterguideins@wlf.la.gov, via fax at (225)763-5421, or by regular mail to Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries,  Attn:  Licensing, P. O. Box 14796 Baton Rouge, LA  70898, or in person at LDWF headquarters. 
 
These requirements will also be enforced on the water, therefore charter captains are reminded to have all required licenses and proof of liability insurance in their possession while on the water and available for inspection.
 
Charter captains are also reminded that annual charter-for-hire licenses expire on Saturday, December 31. To renew your license online, visit la.wildlifelicense.com. New applicants must apply in person at LDWF’s headquarters located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.
 
Regulations and minimal insurance requirements can be found in LDWF’s 2017 Commercial Fishing Regulations Brochure on page 42 and 43.  The online version is available here

Reminder: Tomorrow, Saturday December 17 the statewide waterfowl season opens in all 3 zones!

Release Date: 12/16/2016

Reminder: Tomorrow, Saturday December 17 the statewide waterfowl season opens in all 3 zones!

2017 Turkey Season Lottery Hunt Applications Now Available

Release Date: 12/16/2016

Dec. 16, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for the 2017 turkey season lottery hunts on state wildlife management areas (WMAs). The deadline to submit applications is Feb. 10, 2017.
 
Regular turkey lottery hunts will be held on nine WMAs this spring. Youth lottery hunts will be held on 11 WMAs.

The application forms for these WMA hunts for adult and youth hunters are now available on the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts . The forms list all lottery hunt dates and locations.
 
The 2017 wild turkey season will open March 25 on private lands in three designated areas with varying end of season dates as follows: Area A, March 25 - April 23; Area B, March 25 - April 16; and Area C, March 25 - April 9. For a detailed map, go to
http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/turkey .
 
The statewide youth and physically challenged hunter weekend for private lands will be March 18-19. To access additional information on turkey season, review the 2016-17 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/regulations .
 
For more information, contact Cody Cedotal at ccedotal@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2361.

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Get Out and Fish! Event at Kiroli Park a Success

Release Date: 12/15/2016

On Saturday, December 10 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries partnered with Kiroli Park in West Monroe to host a Get Out and Fish! community fishing event. Nearly 200 participants joined in the fun of trying to catch the elusive rainbow trout.
 
Prior to the event, the park’s pond was stocked with over 600 pounds of rainbow trout donated by Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery in Arkansas. The department urges North Louisiana residents to continue to fish the stocked pond throughout the holiday season.
 
Winners in the rainbow trout category include:
Little Angler Rainbow Trout: 1st Jacob Benson, 2nd Jake Southern, 3rd John Martin
Junior Angler Rainbow Trout: 1st Daisy Temple, 2nd Ian Williams
Adult Angler Rainbow Trout: 1st John Warner
 
Winners in the “Other” category include:
Little Angler “Other”: 1st Max Hearne, 2nd Hailey Lawrence
Junior Angler “Other”: 1st Rachel Stoup, tied for 2nd Hagan Carter and Garrett Ragsdale
Adult Angler “Other”: 1st Angela Lawrence
 
Saturday’s sponsors include Catfish Charlie’s, Honey Hole Tackle, Toledo Tackle, Panola Pepper, Walmart, LA Fish Fry, and Academy Sports and Oudoors. The Rotary Club of West Monroe provided volunteer assistance to make the event a success.
 
LDWF's Get Out and Fish! is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.  The LWFF was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Department and Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fisheries resources. 

LDWF To Close Shrimp Season in Portions of State Inside Waters

Release Date: 12/14/2016

December 14, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the fall shrimp season will close in most state inside waters effective Monday, December 19, 2016, at official sunset.

Those waters that will close to shrimping include:

  • All state inside waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line except for the following waters located east of the Mississippi River:
     
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Chef Menteur and Rigolets Passes, Lake Borgne, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), a section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) in Orleans parish from the GIWW East Closure Sector Gate westward to the GIWW intersection with the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as bounded by the double-rig line described in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2

The following state waters will remain open to shrimping until further notice:

  • Lake Pontchartrain, Chef Menteur and Rigolets Passes, Lake Borgne, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), a section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) in Orleans parish from the GIWW East Closure Sector Gate westward to the GIWW intersection with the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as bounded by the double-rig line described in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2
     
  • All state outside waters

For a map detailing today’s actions click here: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/shrimp-seasons

Existing data do not currently support shrimping closures in additional state inside or outside waters. However, historic data suggest additional closures may be needed in the near future and the department will continue monitoring shrimp populations in these waters.

Regulations state that the possession count on saltwater, white shrimp should average no more than 100 (whole shrimp) per pound, with the exception of October 15 through the third Monday in December, when there is no minimum count size.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission provided LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon with authority to close the fall inshore shrimp season when biological and technical data indicate the need. Recent sampling conducted by the LDWF biologists indicates the average white shrimp size in the waters to be closed is smaller than the minimum possession size limit. This action, which characteristically takes place at this time of year, is designed to protect small, white shrimp and provide opportunity for these populations to over-winter and grow to larger, more marketable sizes.

 

For more information, contact Jeff Marx at (337) 373-0032 or jmarx@wlf.la.gov .

Recreational harvest of gray triggerfish will remain closed in Louisiana waters for the 2017 season

Release Date: 12/14/2016

December 14, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today that the season for recreational harvest of gray triggerfish will remain closed in Louisiana waters for all of the 2017 season. 

The recreational season was originally scheduled to re-open on January 1, 2017, however the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries announced that accountability measures are being enacted which led to a closure of the entire 2017 season in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  They requested that Louisiana state waters also remain closed for that period.

NOAA Fisheries has estimated that the annual recreational adjusted annual catch limit of 201,223 pounds for the Gulf of Mexico in 2016 has been exceeded by 221,213 pounds.  Federal accountability measures require a “payback” of previous season overharvest in the next fishing season for reef fish fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The 2017 recreational catch target had been set to be 217,100 pounds, which is less quota than the estimated overharvest during the 2016 season.  The closure of the entire 2017 recreational season is necessary due to payback provisions to maintain rebuilding of gray triggerfish, which are considered overfished in the Gulf of Mexico. 

LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in previously promulgated rules (LAC 76.VII.335.G.5) to change or modify the opening and closing dates for any recreational reef fish season in Louisiana waters when notified of a modification to a season by NOAA Fisheries.  

 

For more information, contact Jason Adriance at (504) 284-2032 or jadriance @wlf.la.gov.

RECREATIONAL RED SNAPPER STATE SEASON TO CLOSE AT 11:59 P.M. DECEMBER 15, 2016

Release Date: 12/14/2016

RECREATIONAL RED SNAPPER STATE SEASON TO CLOSE AT 11:59 P.M. DECEMBER 15, 2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced that the state recreational red snapper season will close at 11:59 p.m. on December 15, 2016. 

Preliminary estimates from the LA Creel survey indicate that the Department’s self-imposed harvest limit of 1,116,732 pounds of red snapper for the private and charter sectors of the recreational fishery has been harvested.  Closing the season in state waters avoids an overrun of the overall Gulf of Mexico recreational quota and allows the red snapper stock to continue rebuilding.  The season had previously re-opened, on weekends only, by action of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at its October 2016 meeting after LA Creel harvest data indicated there was remaining quota available for harvest.

The state red snapper season, which opened daily from January 8 through September 5 and October 7 through December 15 on weekends only (Friday through Sunday), allowed anglers an opportunity to harvest recreational red snapper for 272 days in Louisiana state waters.  

 

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

LDWF Agents Arrest Two With Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 12/14/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested two Port Barre men on Dec. 12 in Pointe Coupee Parish.
 
Agents arrested Rikky Dodge, 22, and Dylan Richard, 22, for intentional concealment of illegally taken wildlife, and for violating wildlife management area (WMA) regulations for deer hunting with a firearm and for possessing buckshot both during an archery only season.
 
Rikky Dodge was also charged with driving a vehicle with a suspended license, open container and failure to tag a deer.  Rikky Dodge also had an active warrant for his arrest out of St. Landry Parish for unauthorized entry into a dwelling.
 
Dylan Richard was also charged with hunting without basic hunting and big game licenses, hunting on a wma without a wma permit, and violating WMA regulations for failure to fill out a self-clearing permit.
 
Agents were on patrol on the Sherburne WMA and stopped a vehicle to perform a regulations inspection.  The driver, Dodge, informed agents that he and Richard were hog hunting.  While the agents searched the vehicle they found a dead doe deer hidden under some camouflage jackets on the back seat of Dodge’s truck.
 
The agents learned that Dodge and Richard went deer hunting using shotguns during an archery only season on the WMA.  They killed the doe and attempted to sneak it out of the WMA.  The agents also learned that Dodge had an active warrant for his arrest in St. Landry Parish with extradition and his current driver’s license was suspended.  They also found that Richard did not possess any hunting licenses for the 2016-2017 hunting season.
 
Agents booked both men in the Pointe Coupee Parish Detention Center.
 
Intentional concealment of wildlife brings a $900 to $950 fine and 120 days in jail.  Driving with a suspended license carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.  Violating WMA regulations for hunting with a firearm and possessing buckshot during an archery only season each carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Failing to tag deer brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting without basic season and big game hunting licenses, WMA permit and utilizing a WMA without a self-clearing permit each bring up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.
 
The men may also face civil restitution totaling $1,600 for the illegally taken deer.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Nicholas Guillory and Senior Agent Lucas Hidalgo.

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