L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

Louisiana Safe Boating Week Set For May 19-25

Release Date: 05/17/2012

Louisiana is once again participating in the national "Safe Boating Week" that is scheduled for May 19-25 and signifies the beginning of the spring and summer boating season.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will again be reminding all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water during this safe boating week.  Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents will be out in full force as always during the week to perform boating safety checks and driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) patrols.  Each vessel should have enough personal flotation devices (PFD) on board for all occupants and a sober operator.

"Personal flotation devices are made to be worn and not sit in a vessel storage compartment.  Even if you consider yourself to be a strong swimmer, we (LDWF) still encourage everyone on a boat to wear a personal flotation device whenever the boat is in motion," said LDWF Boating Safety Officer Capt. Rachel Zechenelly.  “A personal flotation device on a boat should be treated the same as a seatbelt in a car, because they are both easy to use and are proven to save lives."

LDWF boating incident statistics indicate that 19 out of the 36 boating fatalities in 2011 were drownings that could have been prevented if the person was wearing a PFD.  LDWF regulations state that anyone 16 years of age and younger must wear a PFD while underway in vessels less than 26 foot long.  For more boating and PFD regulations, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

Agents issued 108 DWIs on the water last year to operators of vessels.  Alcohol consumption impairs a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  Alcohol also increases fatigue and susceptibility to hypothermia.  Intensifying the effects of alcohol are sun, wind, noise, vibration and movement, which are all common to boating activities.

The penalties for DWI on the water are the same as on the road.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI on the water or on the road carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.  Again, every DWI offense is also subject to a suspension of driving a vehicle and operating a boat privileges.

"One of the best parts of our job is to see people utilize Louisiana's waterways for recreation in accordance to the boating safety regulations and return home safely to loved ones.  However, the worst part of our job is to search for deceased bodies and notify family members of their loss," said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the State Boating Law Administrator.  "The two ways to make boating safe, fun and a memorable experience is to have a sober operator and to have everyone wear a personal flotation device when the vessel is underway."

LDWF also wants to remind anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 that they are required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  LDWF offers these classes free of charge statewide.  For a list of courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

*Media - To schedule a boating safety ride along for a story, please contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Video

Louisiana Shrimpers Encouraged to Report Asian Tiger Prawn Catches

Release Date: 05/16/2012

 

May 16, 2012 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is aware of and constantly monitoring the appearance of an increased number of Asian tiger prawns, a non-native species, in Louisiana waters.  LDWF officials are asking local shrimp harvesters to report catches of tiger prawns to the Department. 

While there is little known at this time about the impacts of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp, these reports are key in helping LDWF biologists monitor the distribution and relative abundance of these prawns and in determining the possible presence of spawning populations. 

To report catches of Asian tiger prawns please contact Robert Bourgeois at rbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or (225) 765-0765 or Marty Bourgeois at mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov or (225) 765-2401 with the date, location and size of capture. Pictures are encouraged.  Tiger prawns are easily identifiable by their large size, dark body color and white banding found along the head and between segments of the tail.  LDWF officials ask that harvesters retain the tiger prawns by freezing and contact the biologist listed above.

History of incidence in Gulf of Mexico

It is unknown when and how tiger prawns were first introduced into the Gulf of Mexico.  In 1988, a portion of a population of reared tiger prawns escaped from a facility on the east coast.  Approximately 1,000 adults were later recaptured as far south as Cape Canaveral, Florida. In September 2006, a single adult male was captured by a commercial shrimp fisherman in Mississippi Sound near Dauphin Island, Alabama and reports from Alabama and Mississippi have been increasing ever since.

LDWF first documented the occurrence of Asian tiger prawns in Louisiana in August 2007, when a single specimen was taken by a commercial shrimp fisherman in Vermilion Bay.  Prior to the 2011 fall inshore shrimp season, reported captures in Louisiana waters numbered fewer than 25 with none taken any farther westward than Vermilion Bay.  However, since the fall season began, reported captures have dramatically increased with approximately 80 new reports received.  One fisherman alone reported catching as many as 13 individuals over a three-day shrimping trip in Lake Pontchartrain.  A Dulac shrimp dock has reported fishermen capturing in excess of 100 tiger prawns following the 2011 fall season opening.  Most recently, there have also been incident reports west of Vermilion Bay. 

About the species

Asian tiger prawns are native to the Indo-Pacific rim and are both harvested in the wild and extensively farmed in a number of countries.

Tiger prawns belong to the same family (Penaeidae) as our native brown, white and pink shrimp but are non-indigenous to our waters. The life history of tiger prawns is also similar to that of brown and white shrimp with spawning and mating occurring in nearshore oceanic waters. One notable difference in tiger prawns and Louisiana shrimp is size as the research suggests tiger prawns may reach a maximum length of 14 inches and weigh as much as 23 ounces.

At this time, there is no evidence that tiger prawns feed on native Louisiana shrimp.  Any potential impacts over competition for food and resources remain unknown.  Tiger prawns as well as our native brown and white shrimp adopt different diets as they grow and mature and may become more predatory as body size increases.

For press inquiries contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504) 430-2623.

Seaway Marina in Lafitte Hosts the Louisiana Saltwater Series This Weekend

Release Date: 05/15/2012

(May 15, 2012) –There’s still more excitement to come as the Louisiana Saltwater Series Fishing Tournament moves on to its next destination at Seaway Marina in Lafitte on May 19, 2012.  The series is dedicated to catch-and-release saltwater angling through a series of agency-sponsored fishing tournaments. 

Nearly $20,000 in cash and prizes has already been awarded, and there are lots of new promotions and prizes up for grabs this year. 

Teams may consist of one, two, three or four members.  For teams consisting of three or more members, only two of the members may be 16 or older.  There is a $200 entry fee per team for each event.  There is a 90 percent payout for the first six events with 10 percent retained for the championship. Payout is determined separately for each event based upon the total number of boats entered. 

A youth division is also available for no additional cost to introduce our young anglers to the sport of fishing and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation.  Youth division participants compete against one another for trophy catch.  All anglers in this division will be recognized. 

The remaining 2012 redfish tournament schedule is as follows:

June 23 Delacroix, Sweetwater Marina;

July 14 Slidell, Rigolets Marina;

August 25 Cocodrie, Boudreaux’s Marina

Championship October 5 and 6 Venice, Venice Marina.

For complete information, including rules, regulations and registration go to www.lasaltwaterseries.comor visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/#!/louisiana.series.   Online registration for the Lafitte tournament will close on Thursday at noon, but those interested in participating can register at SeaWay Marina from 4 to 5:30 a.m., the morning of the event.    A $20 fee for all onsite tournament registrants will be incurred per team.   Only cash and checks will be accepted for onsite registrants. 

Tournament sponsors include the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Category 5 Outdoors, Daybrook, Omega Protein, Plaquemines Parish, Dockside Marine, Skinny Water Products, Slayer, Blackfin Skeg, Faux Pas Prints, Frabill, Marsh and Bayou Magazine, Power-Pole, Pro-Drive Shallow Water Outboards, Sea tow, Stick It Anchor Pins, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Swamp Swatter, Whole Foods Market, Shakespeare/Berkley, Bollinger Shipyards, Chik-fil-A, Jus Grab it Glove, To Fish Charters, Tony Spell Insurance Agency, Southern Eagle and Standard Mapping. 

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.louisiana.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov(225) 765-2396.

St. Amant Man Arrested for DWI Following Collision With LDWF Patrol Boat

Release Date: 05/15/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a St. Amant man for allegedly driving or operating a personal watercraft while intoxicated (DWI) on May 11.

Agents arrested Gary Miller, 43, for third offense DWI, reckless operation of a vessel and operating a watercraft while under a driver’s license suspension.

According to witnesses, on May 6 at about 7:40 p.m. Miller was travelling downstream at a high rate of speed on the Amite River near French Settlement when he collided with an LDWF patrol vessel.

Miller required medical treatment and was released later that same night.  The LDWF agent, Sgt. Randy Lanoux, suffered no injuries.  Miller’s personal watercraft was badly damaged, while the patrol boat suffered minor damage.

On May 11, after LDWF agents received the results of Miller’s blood test that allegedly showed him over the legal alcohol limit, a warrant was obtained for his arrest.

Third offense DWI brings up to a $2,000 and one to five years in jail.  Reckless operation of a vessel carries up to a $200 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Operating a watercraft while under suspension brings an additional one year suspension of his driving privileges.

Agents participating in the investigation were Lt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Todd Lewis, Sgt. Dennis Bueche, Senior Agent Clay Marquez and Senior Agent Hal Bridges.

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

229 Boaters Certified During "Boating Education Lagniappe Day"

Release Date: 05/15/2012

229 Boaters Certified During "Boating Education Lagniappe Day"

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) certified 229 boaters statewide after their second "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" on May 12.

Boating Education Lagniappe Day ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at eight locations across the state and consisted of the National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course, food and drinks, giveaways and door prizes all free of charge to the public.

"We are extremely pleased with the turnout as more than 200 boaters will now be safer when boating on Louisiana waterways," said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the State's Boating Law Administrator.  "We wanted to make this day full of fun and still be educational at the same time and I feel we accomplished both goals."

The NASBLA safe boating certification is mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 who wants to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.

The NASBLA approved course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Each student received that completed the course was issued a vessel operators certification card.

Sponsors for each location provided a free lunch, door prizes and giveaways such as sports bags, cups, fishing line, water bottles and sunscreen.

Sponsors for the Boating Education Lagniappe Day are the Louisiana Wildlife Agents
Association, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Wal-Mart, Cabela's, Holiday Inn, St. Landry Lumber Company, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, Austin’s Outdoor of Opelousas, Coca-Cola of Lake Charles, Songy's Sporting Goods of Houma, and Lake Charles Tackle.

For more information on boating regulations and safety, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.  For more information on boating education courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating incidents that result in fatalities than states that have no boating education program.  States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.

LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 48,000 boaters during that time.

Below is the list of the class locations from this past weekend:

Bossier City
Academy Sports and Outdoors
2801 Beene Blvd.
Bossier City, LA

West Monroe
Academy Sports and Outdoors
111 Constitution Dr.
West Monroe, LA 71292

Alexandria
Academy Sports and Outdoors
3205 S. MacArthur Dr.
Alexandria, LA 71301

Opelousas
St. Landry Lumber Company
207 North Railroad Ave.
Opelousas, LA 70570

Lake Charles
Lake Charles Civic Center
900 Lakeshore Dr.
Lake Charles, LA 70602

Larose
Larose Civic Center
307 East 5th St
Larose, LA 70373

Gonzales
Cabela's
2200 W. Cabela's Parkway
Gonzales, LA 70737

Kenner
Academy Sports and Outdoors
1000 West Esplanade Blvd.
Kenner, LA 70065

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

Louisiana to Participate in National Survey to Explore Dove Hunter Opinions

Release Date: 05/14/2012

May 14, 2012 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries urges hunters to participate in an upcoming survey that will ask dove hunters from across the U.S. to share their experiences and opinions about dove hunting.

The National Dove Hunter Survey is scheduled to begin in late June 2012 and will be completed by the end of the year. Louisiana hunters will be randomly selected andreceive the surveys through the mail to complete and return in a postage-paid envelope. 

Topics will include time spent hunting, demographics, constraints to hunting, and thoughts about potential effects of spent lead from hunting ammunition on mourning doves and other wildlife.  The survey is a cooperative effort involving state fish and wildlife agencies, all four flyway councils and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

"We are conducting this survey because hunter opinions and preferences are important and should be taken into account whenever possible,” says Dr. Ken Richkus of the USFWS’s Population and Habitat Assessment Branch.  “The Service and the states want to make sure we use the best science-based information for the management and conservation of our migratory bird resources.”  

There are more than one million dove hunters nationally and seasons in 40 states.  Dove hunters in every state that has a dove season are being surveyed to collect opinions on a variety of topics.

For more information, contact Jeff Duguay at 225-765-2353 or jduguay@wlf.la.gov.

 

Elmer’s Island Beach Sweep Cancelled Due to Inclement Weather

Release Date: 05/11/2012

(May 11, 2012) – The Elmer’s Island beach sweep, originally scheduled for tomorrow, has been canceled due to the threat of inclement weather. 

Event organizers, including the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, plan to reschedule and will announce the new date as soon as it is available. 
 
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.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225)721-0489.
 

LDWF to Hold Summer Day Camps in Baton Rouge

Release Date: 05/11/2012

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is sponsoring two summer day camps for children 12 to 16 years old at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge this summer.

The camps will be held from June 25-29 and again from July 23-27.  Each camp is completely free of charge and will allow participants to receive their official boater and hunter education certifications.

LDWF will also offer a fish identification class, fishing and canoeing in the ponds at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, skeet shooting, and other outdoor related classes and activities.

"Last year’s first ever summer camp proved so successful that we wanted to do two this year.  These camps provide a lot of time for learning classroom material that the children then get a chance to utilize with hands on activities immediately outside later that same day,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “For a week, parents have the chance to let their kids become sportsmen and women in a safe, supervised environment.”

The Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation are providing a daily lunch free of charge for the five-day summer camps.  Cabela's in Gonzales also donated rod and reel combo sets for each child that they can take home at the end of the camp.

The camps are open to 25 children per camp who have not completed a boater or hunter education certificate.

To register for the camps, parents must fill out the online application located at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/summerdaycamp2012 by May 25.  Parents must fill out a separate application for each child they wish to register and may only register their child for one of the camps.

Since the main goal of these camps is to introduce and teach kids about the outdoors, LDWF will choose the 25 kids for each camp based on the child’s lack of experience with fishing, boating and hunting.  LDWF will notify parents by either email or phone if their child has been selected for the camps.

“We want to teach children how much fun and exciting it can be by spending time outside enjoying all that Louisiana has to offer,” said Secretary Barham.  “These camps also get the kids out of the house away from their video games and computers for a week during their summer break.  They will catch some fish, paddle canoes and shoot skeet and for some this might be their first time ever doing any of these activities.”

Parents with children that have been selected for either camp, must drop off their child at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center located at 4142 North Flannery Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70814 between 7 and 8 a.m., and then pick their child up between 4 and 5 p.m. each day.  Attendance every day of the week is mandatory in order to receive the boating and hunting education certifications.

The boating education course is mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 and proof of completion of the course is necessary to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification card.

The hunter education course is mandatory for anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, who plans on purchasing a hunting license.  The hunter education curriculum includes sections on ethics and responsibility, wildlife management, firearms and ammunition, safety in the field, wildlife identification and wildlife conservation.  The major objectives of the hunter education programs are to reduce the number of hunting accidents, improve the image of hunting through ethical and responsible conduct and promote the shooting sports.

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

Bridge Construction on Pointe-aux-Chenes W.M.A. Requires Closing Access to Eastern Water Control Structure on Montegut Management Unit

Release Date: 05/09/2012

May 9, 2012 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising the public that bridge construction across the eastern water control structure on the Montegut Management Unit has closed that structure to public access on Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The closure is due to public safety concerns as construction vehicles and equipment work on the structure during the project.

Bridge construction is expected to be completed in September. LDWF staff has posted the restricted area around the construction site on the WMA. The Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District is coordinating the construction.

Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA is located Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, southeast of Houma.

For more information on Pointe-aux -Chenes WMA, visit the LDWF website at www.wlf.la.gov or call 985-594-5494.

 

46 Fish Tagged at the Louisiana Saltwater Series Speckled Trout Tournament

Release Date: 05/08/2012

First place finishers James Tumey and Marcus Rieffel with Tournament Directors Dwayne Mills and Becky Chaney.

(May 8, 2012) -This past weekend’s Louisiana Saltwater Series speckled trout tournament held true to form, and although there were several prized catches, the highlight of the event was inarguably the extraordinary number of fish tagged and released.  A total of 45 trout and one flounder were caught, tagged and released by the 18 participating teams. 

The tournament, hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, allows teams to bring extra fish to the weigh-in, thus increasing the total number of tagged fish. 

Josh Hall and Mitchell Chevalier brought in 14 fish to be tagged, earning them the title of team who tagged the most fish for the second year in a row. 

Taking home the tournament’s top prize of $900 were Marcus Rieffel and James Tumey, with a two fish total weight of 6.09 pounds.

The top finishing teams, all taking home cash prizes, include: 2nd place, Chas Champagne and Kristi Mayeux; 3rd place, George Rau and Wesley Rau; 4th place, Benny Sanchez and Kris Robert. 

Chase Rau took home first place in the tournament’s youth division.

For complete event results, including photos, visit www.lasaltwaterseries.com.  The next speckled trout tournament will be held on Oct. 20 out of Seabrook Harbor in New Orleans. 

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.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-2396.

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