FB17-049: Extension of Valid Period for Vessel and Dealer Permits

red snapper copy

Red Snapper Illustration by Diane Rome Peebles

KEY MESSAGE:

Because of technical difficulties due to Hurricane Irma, the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Region Permits Office is providing an extension of the valid period of any permits for which owners have submitted a renewal application.  Only those expired permits already submitted for renewal to the Southeast Region Permits Office will be considered valid until October 31, 2017.

 

Background:

  • Since the passing of Hurricane Irma, the permit system at the Southeast Regional Office in St. Petersburg, Florida, has experienced unusual delays in permit renewals.
  • Some individuals applied to renew their permits in a timely manner, but have not received new permits due to Hurricane Irma.
  • For permits that are expired but have renewal applications pending at the Southeast Regional Office, the permit expiration will be considered extended until October 31, 2017.
  • This extension applies to all Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Highly Migratory Species vessel permits and dealer permits.

Permit transfers will not be processed until the system is functioning.

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LWF Commission Sets 2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2017-2018 oyster season based on the annual oyster stock assessment provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments received from members of the public, including the oyster industry.

The following dates were set for the upcoming oyster season:

  • Wednesday, November 1, 2017 – Calcasieu Lake: West Cove only
  • Monday, November 13, 2017 – all Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River, north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH Shellfish Harvest Areas 1-4), Bay Long/American Bay sacking-only area, Sister Lake, and the Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche Bay/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds will open at one half-hour before sunrise
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017 – the following areas will close to seed harvest on November 13 but remain open as sacking-only areas: all Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River, north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH areas 1-4) and Sister Lake

During the 2017-2018 open oyster season, the following provisions will be in effect:

  1.    Any vessel from which any person(s) takes or attempts to take oysters from the      public oyster seed grounds and reservations described above shall:
  2. Be limited to a daily take and possession limit not to exceed 50 sacks of oysters per vessel, except for in the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation where the limit shall not exceed 35 sacks per vessel, and except for in the West Cove portion of Calcasieu Lake where the limit shall not exceed 7 sacks per person per vessel per day. A sack of oysters for the purposes of this declaration of emergency shall be defined as the size described in R.S. 56:440. If sacks smaller than the size described in R.S. 56:440 are used, the daily harvest and possession limit shall be based on the number of sacks harvested. The daily take and possession limit will not apply to vessels harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes. The possession limit will not apply to vessels operating under a valid Oyster Cargo Vessel Permit, and these vessels cannot harvest oysters.
  3. Be limited to either harvesting market oysters for direct sale (sacking) or harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes on any one day and is specifically prohibited from doing both.

 

  1.    If any person on a vessel takes or attempts to take oysters from the Public Oyster Seed Grounds, Reservations, or areas described above, all oysters contained on that vessel will be deemed to have been taken from said seed ground, reservation, or area from the time harvest begins until all oysters are offloaded dockside.

 

  1.    Prior to leaving Public Seed Grounds or Reservations with oysters harvested from said seed ground or reservation for market purposes: all oysters must be sacked, the number of sacks shall be recorded in a log book, and each sack shall be properly tagged.

 

  1.    All vessels located in Public Seed Grounds or Reservations during those times between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise must have all oyster scrapers unshackled.

 

  1.    In Calcasieu Lake, oyster scrapers are prohibited on vessels actively harvesting oysters.

 

The following areas will remain closed for the entire 2017-18 oyster season:

  • the area east of the Mississippi River as described in LAC 76:VII:511, south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH Shellfish Harvest Areas 5,6,7,8), excluding the American Bay area defined above;
  • the Bay Gardene, Hackberry Bay, and Bay Junop Public Oyster Public Oyster Seed Reservations as described in R.S. 56:434;
  • the Little Lake Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII:521;
  • the Barataria Bay, Deep Lake, Lake Chien, Lake Felicity, Lake Tambour, and Lake Mechant Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII:517;
  • the east side of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area;
  • the Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area as described in R.S. 56:435.1.

Closure dates, adjustments in sack limits and/or sacking-only areas will be determined by LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open public 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.

FB17-048 Revised Reporting Requirements for Federal Seafood Dealers in Texas and Portions of Louisiana through October 15, 2017

KEY MESSAGE:

  • Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas, as a Category 4 hurricane on August 25, 2017.
  • NOAA Fisheries has determined that catastrophic conditions exist in all coastal and adjacent counties in Texas, and the Louisiana parishes of Cameron and Vermilion.
  • Therefore, for any dealer in the affected area who does not have access to electronic reporting, NOAA Fisheries is authorizing, through October 15, 2017, 1) delayed reporting of trip tickets to NOAA Fisheries and 2) the use of paper-based reporting forms for red snapper and grouper-tilefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) participants. Dealers are to report all landings through the state trip ticket program as soon as possible.

 

MORE INFORMATION:

  • Federal dealers in effected areas are released from the weekly reporting requirement of trip tickets to NOAA Fisheries, but must report all landings as soon as possible. For questions, contact the Fisheries Monitoring Branch: 305-361-4581.
  • The electronic systems for submitting landings and IFQ information to NOAA Fisheries will continue to be available to all dealers. Participants shall continue to use the electronic systems if it is accessible.
  • NOAA Fisheries has previously provided IFQ dealers the necessary paper forms (sequentially coded) and instructions for reporting during catastrophic conditions. Paper forms are also available upon request by calling IFQ Customer Service at the phone number listed above or by writing:

NOAA Fisheries

Southeast Regional Office

Sustainable Fisheries Division

263 13th Avenue South

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

  • The IFQ program functions available to participants in the geographic area affected by catastrophic conditions will be limited for those using the paper-based system. There will be no mechanism for transfers of IFQ shares or allocation for those using the paper-based system during catastrophic conditions.
  • Assistance in complying with the requirements of the paper-based system will be available via IFQ Customer Service 1-866-425-7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern time.
  • Regulations implementing dealer reporting and the IFQ programs provide for delayed reporting and IFQ paper-based reporting in the event of catastrophic conditions. These regulations require NOAA Fisheries to determine when the catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are affected.

NOAA Fisheries will continue to monitor and reevaluate the areas and duration of the catastrophic conditions. A subsequent Fishery Bulletin will be published if additional notice is needed.

September 2017 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda

The next regular Commission meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, September  7, 2017, at LDWF headquarters in the Louisiana Room of 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

 

Agenda:

 

1.     Call to Order

2.     Pledge of Allegiance

3.     Roll Call

4.     Adoption of August 3, 2017 Commission Meeting Minutes

5.     Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

6.     Enforcement Report August, 2017 – Captain Edward Skena

7.     Receive and Consider a Resolution commending LDWF Enforcement Division for Hurricane Harvey response – Al Sunseri, Commissioner

8.     Receive Presentation on Passive Transponder Bird Migration Study –Michael Seymour, Biologist

9.     Recognize Conoco-Phillips for their Financial Contribution to the Transponder Study –Buddy Baker, Administrator

10.  Receive One Health presentation –Dr. Rusty Berry, Wildlife Veterinarian

11.  Receive a Presentation of LDWF’s participation in the Breeding Waterfowl and Habitat Survey –James Whitaker, Biologist

12.  Receive a Presentation on Waterfowl Population Status, Hunting Regulations, and Pre-Season Update –Larry Reynolds, Program Manager

13.  Receive Update on Roseau Cane Mortality –Todd Baker, Director

14.  Receive and Consider a Notice of Intent to update the Louisiana Threatened and Endangered Species List –Amity Bass, Director

15.  Receive and Consider a Notice of Intent to remove the current black bass slot limit regulations of 15-19 inches and 8 fish daily harvest from Caney Lake and place the lake under the statewide black bass regulations  –  Jeff Sibley, Fisheries Biologist Manager

16.  Receive and Consider a Declaration of Emergency setting the 2017-2018 oyster season on the public oyster areas of Louisiana – Steve Beck, Program Manager

17.  Receive an Update on the Recent Gulf Council Meeting (including a Louisiana Only Amendment Update) and Louisiana Red Snapper Harvest and 39-day Season Extension Projection Update – Chris Schieble, Biologist Manager

18.  Receive and Consider a Resolution supporting continued efforts to reduce the hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico – Doug Daigle, Coordinator, Louisiana Hypoxia Working Group

19.  Set January, 2018 Commission Meeting Date

20.  Receive Public Comments

21.  Adjournment

 

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via Gotowebinar.com.  To attend this meeting via webinar visit:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2418555430874433283

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

 

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.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all

reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign

language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to the contact at the top of

this announcement at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet September 5 at 1:00 p.m.

Oyster

Oyster Task Force Public-Private Oyster Grounds Committee to Meet September 5 at 9:30 a.m.

AGENDA

I.              Call to Order

II.             To Receive an Updated Draft NOI with Proposed Changes

III.            Discussion of Stock Assessment and Season Recommendations

(Habitat Suitability Index)

IV.            Discussion of the Shell Budget

V.             Discussion of Tagging Regulations for Mini-Sacks

VI.           Public Comment

VII.          Set next meeting

VIII.         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 listen in to the meeting via webinar register at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4948304087345110785

 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 1 p.m.

2021 Lakeshore Dr., STE 210

New Orleans, LA 70122

UNO Advanced Technology Center

 

 

AGENDA

 

  I.         Roll call and introduction of guests

  II.        Approval of August 1, 2017 Meeting Minutes and September 5, 2017 Agenda

  III.       Treasury Report

A.      Oyster Tag Sales

B.      LOTF Financial Report

  IV.         Committee Reports

A.      Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee  (Mitch Jurisich)

B.      Enforcement (Captain Chad Hebert)

C.      Legislative (Jakov Jurisic)

D.     Research (Earl Melancon)

E.      Coastal Restoration (Dan Coulon)

F.      Marketing (LDWF)

G.      Health (Lance Broussard)

H.     Sustainability (LDWF)

I.        Professionalism (LDWF)

J.      Aquaculture (John Supan)

        K.      Joint Task Force Working Group (Mitch Jurisich)

V.         New Business

A.     Consideration of a State-Wide (Public/ Private Leases) 3-Inch Minimum Size Limit on Market Oysters- Steve Beck

B.     To Consider a Draft Resolution for the State’s Continued Work on the Gulf Hypoxia Issue- OTF

C.     Discussion of Tagging Regulations for Mini-Sacks- Brad Robin

D.    To Hear a Presentation on Oyster Import Data- Jack Isaacs

E.     To Hear an Update on the Summer 2016 Oyster Die-Off – Steve Beck

F.     To Hear an Update on the Assessment of Oyster Loss on Public Reefs East of the MS River – Steve Beck

G.     To consider funding and Participation in the 2018 LA Alive & Acadiana Events- OTF

VI.         Public Comment

VII.        Set Next Meeting

VIII.       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 listen in to the meeting via webinar register at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6279452028767510017

 

 

 

 

Louisiana Shrimp Watch- July 2017

Louisiana specific data portrayed in the graphics are selected from preliminary data posted by NOAA on their website. All data portrayed are subject to final revision and approval by NOAA.  Shrimp landings are ex-vessel prices, inclusive of all species harvested. Missing, inadequate or withheld reports are portrayed as “zero” in these graphics. Price graphics reflect central Gulf states only (Texas and Florida are reported independently). For more information, please refer to: www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/market_news/index.html.

MonthPriceYearYTD

Issuance of Alligator Hunting Licenses And Tags at Rockefeller Refuge will begin Friday at 1 P.M.

Swamp

Photo by Julie Lively

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will issue alligator hunting licenses and tags at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge on Friday (Sept. 1) beginning at 1 p.m. The issuance of the tags was delayed earlier this week because of impacts from Hurricane Harvey.

 

For more information contact the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge at 337-538-2165 or the LDWF Field Office in New Iberia at 337-373-0032.

Red snapper fishing continues through Labor Day weekend

Red Snapper

Red Snapper  Credit: LSMPB

Louisiana anglers will be able to complete the 39-day extended red snapper season which ends Monday, Sept. 4 at 11:59 p.m., according to the latest LA Creel landings data.

 

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission had ordered LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet to shut down the red snapper season when it appears anglers will meet the self-imposed limit of 1.04 million pounds.

 

The latest catch statistics from LDWF’s LA Creel, the agency’s near real-time data collecting program, show that 880,603 pounds of red snapper had been caught as of August 20. The last reported amount was 849,227 pounds.

 

The LDWF established a limit on its red snapper catch because it believes that being accountable for the catch limit will help the state’s chances of receiving federal government permission allowing Louisiana to manage its own red snapper season out 200 nautical miles from its coast.

 

The red snapper fishing season was extended 39 days as part of an agreement reached earlier this summer involving Louisiana, the four other Gulf states – Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida – and the U.S. Department of Commerce. It allowed recreational anglers to fish out 200 miles from the Louisiana coast for red snapper on weekends through Labor Day.

 

Also under the agreement, there would be no red snapper fishing in state waters – out nine miles from the Louisiana coast – on Mondays through Thursdays, except on July 3-4 and September 4. Anglers are limited to two fish, measuring at least 16 inches, per day.

 

For more information on the 2017 red snapper landings estimates, visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/page/41176-red-snapper-long-range-plan-facts/redsnapperwebsitedocument8-20-17.pdf

 

 

LDWF Agents have Rescued 1,401 People in Texas and Louisiana

LDWF

Hurricane Harvey Rescues  Credit: LDWF

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents continue to conduct search and rescue missions in the flooded areas of Texas and Louisiana caused by Hurricane Harvey.  LDWF agents have rescued a total of 1,401 people and 159 pets to date including 1,373 people and 157 pets rescued from Texas and 28 people and two pets rescued from Louisiana.

 

LDWF sent 40 agents with 40 trucks and 40 vessels to the Houston and Katy areas on Aug. 26 and 27.  From Aug. 26 to Aug. 30, LDWF agents in coordination with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division were able to rescue 1,275 people and 128 pets in that time with LDWF vessels in the Houston and Katy areas in Texas.

 

On Aug. 30, LDWF redirected 38 of the original 40 agents with trucks and vessels to the Kirbyville and Deweyville areas in Texas.

 

LDWF also deployed an additional 33 agents with 29 trucks and 29 vessels to assist with search and rescue operations on Aug. 30.  These crews rescued 98 people with 29 pets from the Port Arthur area last night and will be in the Orange, Texas area today.

 

LDWF currently has 71 agents with 67 trucks and 67 vessels performing search and rescue missions in coordination with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division in Texas.

 

LDWF agents will remain in Texas until no longer needed.

 

LDWF agents have also rescued 26 people and two pets from Calcasieu Parish and two people from Sabine Parish in the state of Louisiana.

LDWF to Close Elmer’s Island Due to Hurricane Harvey Sunday at Noon

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will temporarily close Elmer’s Island beginning on Sunday, August 27 at 12:00 pm, due to the anticipated impacts of Hurricane Harvey. As a precautionary and preparedness measure Elmer’s Island will remain closed until further notice.