Red Snapper season to remain open this weekend, maybe longer

Red Snapper

Louisiana anglers can breathe a sigh of relief for now. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will not close the red snapper season as some had feared. In fact, there is a chance that the season will last until Sept. 4, the official closure date.

 

According to estimates from LDWF’s LA Creel, the states near real-time data program, if anglers continue to catch red snapper at the current rate, the season may last through Labor Day.

 

“The current harvest rates are certainly lower than we were expecting, so we are able to keep the season open at this time,” said Assistant Secretary for Fisheries Patrick Banks. However, he said, it is very unlikely the current average weekly catch of 66,000 will hold.

 

Louisiana has a self-imposed limit of approximately 15 percent of the total Gulf of Mexico catch. The self-imposed limit equals about 1.04 million pounds of red snapper for 2017.

 

According to the latest LA Creel estimated harvest rate Louisiana anglers would only catch 902,616 pounds of red snapper by Sept. 4. 

 

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has ordered LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet to close the red snapper season when it appears Louisiana’s catch will exceed the 1.04-million-pound limit. It is the goal of LDWF to manage the state’s catch responsibly in order to improve its chances of the federal government allowing Louisiana to oversee its own red snapper season out 200 miles from its coast.

 

Louisiana is part of an agreement reached earlier this summer with four other Gulf states and the U.S. Department of Commerce that allows recreational anglers to fish out 200 miles from the Louisiana coast for red snapper for 39 days. The altered season opened June 16-18 continued on June 23-25, June 30-July 4, July 7-9 and will continue July 14-16, July 21-23, July 28-30, Aug. 4-6, Aug. 11-13, Aug 18-20, Aug. 25-27, and Sept. 1-4.

 

Under the agreement that includes Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, 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 Sept. 4. Anglers are limited to two fish, measuring at least 16 inches per day.

 

*For more information on the 2017 red snapper landings estimates go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/page/41176-red-snapper-long-range-plan-facts/redsnapperharvestupdateforwebsite-071317.pdf  .

Louisiana Shrimp Season to Close In Remaining Inside Waters on July 24

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the 2017 spring inshore shrimp season will close on Monday, July 24 at 6 p.m. in Lake Pontchartrain, Chef Menteur and Rigolets passes, Lake Borgne, and the Louisiana portion of Mississippi Sound. With this action, all state inside waters will be closed with the exception of Breton and Chandeleur sounds.

 

For a map detailing these closures please click here.

 

All state outside waters seaward of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line, as described in R.S. 56:495 will remain open to shrimping until further notice. 

 

Data collected in recent weeks by LDWF biologists indicate increased quantity, distribution and percentage of small, juvenile white shrimp within these waters. The closure will protect these developing shrimp and provide opportunity for growth to larger and more marketable sizes.

 

LDWF would also like to remind shrimpers there is a possession count on saltwater white shrimp of 100 count (whole shrimp per pound) taken in either inside or outside (offshore) waters of Louisiana. This size restriction applies to the taking or possession of such shrimp aboard a vessel, EXCEPT from Oct. 15 through the third Monday in December, when there is no possession count on saltwater white shrimp. When more than 50 percent by weight of the saltwater shrimp taken or possessed is seabobs or brown shrimp, then the maximum allowable amount of undersized white shrimp taken or possessed should not exceed 10 percent by weight of the total saltwater shrimp taken or possessed. If compliance issues develop, remaining open areas can be closed by the Secretary of the Department.

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

Louisiana Shrimp Season to Close July 14 in the Majority of Inside Waters

 

2017_shrimpseason_spring_170706

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the 2017 spring inshore shrimp season will close at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 14 from the Louisiana/Mississippi state line westward to the eastern shore of the Mississippi River and from Freshwater Bayou canal westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line except for the following waters: Lake Pontchartrain, Chef Menteur and Rigolets Passes, Lake Borgne, the Louisiana portion of Mississippi Sound, and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds.

 

For a map detailing these closures please see above or visit

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/shrimp-seasons.

All state outside waters seaward of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line, as described in R.S. 56:495 will remain open to shrimping until further notice. 

 

Data collected in recent weeks by LDWF biologists indicate increased quantity, distribution and percentage of small, juvenile white shrimp within these waters. The decision to close these waters was made to protect these developing shrimp and provide opportunity for growth to larger and more marketable sizes. The areas that remain open will continue to be monitored and will close when the presence of smaller white shrimp make it biologically inappropriate to remain open.  

 

LDWF would also like to remind shrimpers there is a possession count on saltwater white shrimp taken in either inside or outside (offshore) waters of Louisiana of 100 count (whole shrimp per pound). This size restriction applies to the taking or possession of such shrimp aboard a vessel, EXCEPT from Oct. 15 through the third Monday in December, when there is no possession count on saltwater white shrimp taken or possessed. When more than 50 percent by weight of the saltwater shrimp taken or possessed is seabobs or brown shrimp, then the maximum allowable amount of undersized white shrimp taken or possessed should not exceed 10 percent by weight of the total saltwater shrimp taken or possessed.  If compliance issues develop, remaining open areas can be closed by the Secretary of the Department.

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

August Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Sunset Scene

Credit: J. Lively

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will be meeting in Grand Isle, LA for the meeting on August 3, 2017.  An agenda will be published prior to the meeting date.

 

What:  Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

 

When:  Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 1:30 P.M.

 

Where: 195 Ludwig Annex, Grand Isle, LA 70358

21 Diamondback Terrapin Hatchlings Released On Louisiana Coastal Barrier Island

DBT

Diamondback Terrapin Hatchling. Photo by Louisiana Sea Grant

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) joined citizen volunteers in releasing 21 diamondback terrapin hatchlings back into the wild Thursday (July 6).

 

The hatchlings, whose eggs were discovered by scientists at a Deepwater Horizon restoration site last year, were released on Chenier Ronquille, a coastal barrier island northeast of Grand Isle. The island’s restoration was funded by Early Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) dollars (Phase III) that went to NOAA for their Outer Coast Restoration Project to restore beach, dune and back-barrier marsh habitats, as well as brown pelicans, terns, skimmers and gulls to help compensate the public for spill-related injuries and losses to these resources.

 

“Partnerships and cooperation between public agencies are crucial to successfully managing wildlife,’’ LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “Having private citizens assist us is a prime example of how that cooperation can be extremely effective. Diamondback terrapins are one of our species of greatest conservation need. So having a chance to return some to their natural environment aids in making sure the population remains stable.’’

 

“CPRA’s coastal work oftentimes goes beyond the obvious building, preserving and restoring land and habitat,” said CPRA Chairman Johnny Bradberry. “In many cases, our attention is called to the preservation of species that once called a location home, along the coast. It’s good to see that these terrapins are now back where they belong.”

 

The story began in July of 2016 when Keri Landry, an endangered species biologist with LDWF’s Louisiana Natural Heritage Program, was contacted by NOAA about diamondback terrapin eggs found on the Chenier Ronquille Barrier Island Restoration Project.

 

Chenier Ronquille is a barrier island located at the entrance to the Barataria Basin in Louisiana that is being restored through Deepwater Horizon early restoration efforts. The restoration is a component of the Louisiana Outer Coast Restoration Project, which restores beach, dune and back-barrier marsh at four barrier island locations. Other project components are being implemented by the CPRA and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

 

“Louisiana’s barrier islands and headlands are the first line of defense during storms, reducing the effects of wind, waves and flooding on coastal marshes,” said Pat Montanio, Director of NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Habitat Conservation. “They also provide habitat for fish, shrimp, birds and other wildlife, but have been impacted by storms and oil spills like Deepwater Horizon. We’re happy to support this important effort, restoring habitat that helps protect coastal communities in Louisiana.”

 

Landry traveled to the barrier island to collect the diamondback terrapin eggs. Unable to incubate the eggs or raise the hatchlings, she contacted David and Karen Milliken, who assist  LDWF with its work with gopher tortoises, a federal and state-protected species. The Millikens incubated the eggs during July 2016. 

 

The eggs were then turned to Steven and Rachael Creech in August 2016. They hatched in August 2016. The Creechs raised them since that time. Under their constant care, the terrapins have nearly tripled in size since hatching and are now ready to be released into Louisiana’s coastal barrier island system.

 

“LDWF didn’t have the ability to incubate and raise the terrapin eggs,’’ Landry said. “The Millikens and the Creechs have worked with LDWF in the past and came alongside again to help out. They were instrumental in caring for these hatchlings with their willingness to assist LDWF. LDWF’s partnerships with other agencies, like NOAA and CPRA, and with the Millikens and Creechs, make conservation of our most imperiled species a reality.”

 

To view photos and video from Thursday’s release, click here.

FB17-036 Gulf Shrimp Fishery to Re-Open Off Texas on July 15, 2017

Shrimp

Credit: Paula Ouder

WHAT/WHEN:

NOAA Fisheries announces federal waters from 9 to 200 nautical miles off Texas will open to shrimp trawling at 30 minutes after official sunset, local time, on

July 15, 2017, corresponding to the time Texas opens its waters to shrimp trawling.

 

WHY THIS IS HAPPENING:

  • The waters off Texas are closed to shrimp fishing annually to allow brown shrimp to reach a larger and more valuable size prior to harvest, and to prevent waste of brown shrimp that might otherwise be discarded because of their small size.
  • The fishery closed May 15, 2017.
  • The re-opening date for Texas waters is based on the results of biological sampling by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
  • In addition, Texas regulations only allow a 60-day closure; the 60 day period expires July 15.

Commission adopts NOI to increase recreational bag limit and set commercial season of king mackerel

King Mackerel

Illustrations by Diane Rome Peebles

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission took action on a Notice of Intent to increase the recreational bag limit of king mackerel from two to three fish per person. This increase in the recreational bag limit mirrors actions taken at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council seeking to maximize harvest of the recreational king mackerel quota for the Gulf of Mexico.

In the same Notice of Intent, the Commission also took action to set the opening date of the commercial king mackerel season as July 1 of each year.  The commercial season has typically opened by Declaration of Emergency on July 1 of each year and this Notice of Intent will codify that long standing practice.

To view the full notice of intent or for species-specific data, please visit here.

 

Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed rule to Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email to jadriance@wlf.la.gov prior to Thursday September 7, 2017.

July 2017 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda

Sunset Scene

Credit: J. Lively

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, July 6, 2017, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA

 

The following items will be discussed:

 

1.     Call to Order

 

2.     Pledge of Allegiance

 

3.     Roll Call

 

4.     Adoption of June 08, 2017 Commission Meeting Minutes and June 12, 2017 Special Commission Meeting Minutes

 

5.     Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

 

6.     Enforcement Report June, 2017 – Captain Edward Skena

 

7.     Presentation of Mississippi Flyway Council Waterfowl Enforcement Officer of the Year Award – Captain Edward Skena

 

8.     Receive LDWF’s response to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s 2017 Master Plan – Todd Baker, Wildlife Management Division, and Harry Blanchet, Fisheries Management Division

 

9.     Presentation of update on the white-fronted goose research project: progress and plans for 2017-18 field season – Paul Link, LDWF NAWMP Coordinator

 

10.  Progress report on cooperative breeding habitat work in Saskatchewan and an update on current breeding habitat conditions in prairie Canada – Dave Kostersky, Ducks Unlimited Canada

 

11.  Presentation on proposed Sterlet Sturgeon operation – Johnny Ledet, Warbucks International Seafood

 

12.  Consider a Notice of Intent to Modify the Recreational Bag Limit and Set the Opening Date of the Commercial Season for King Mackerel – Jason Adriance, Biologist

 

13.  Presentation on La Creel and red snapper harvest estimates – Jason Adriance, Biologist

 

14.  Receive update on Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s June Meeting – Myron Fischer, Biologist

 

15.  Receive a presentation on the background of the Bohemia Salinity Control Structure – Patrick Banks, Assistant Secretary, Office of Fisheries

 

16.  Set time and location for August, 2017 Commission Meeting

 

17.  Set November, 2017 Commission Meeting Date

 

18.  Receive Public Comments

 

19.  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/8077000706781402369

 

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

 

Commerce Department Announces 2017 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Appointments

The Secretary of Commerce recently announced the appointment of three members to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.  The Council looks forward to welcoming the following appointees on August 11, 2017.

 

Mr. Phillip Dyskow of Florida will join the Council for his first term.  He served as the former President of Yamaha Marine Group and has over 40 years of experience in the marine industry.  He has served as a member of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee which advises the Secretary of Commerce on living marine resource matters. Mr. Dyskow has amassed numerous awards for his services to the saltwater fishing and conservation community.

 

Dr. Bob Shipp of Alabama will re-join the Council for his 19th year of service and 7th appointment.  He previously has served as the Council chairman and as a member of the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committees.  As the Chair Emeritus of the Department of Marine Science at the University of South Alabama, member of the Research board of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, former member of the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board, MARFIN Board member, and member of the Board of Governors of the American Ichthyologist and Herpetologists, Dr. Shipp has made numerous contributions to the scientific understanding of red snapper and other species managed by the Council.

 

Dr. Greg Stunz of Texas is re-appointed for his second term on the Council.  He currently serves as the Chair of the Council’s Data Collection Committee.  As the endowed chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health and Executive Director of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi Harte Research Institute for the Gulf of Mexico Studies. Dr. Stunz has studied marine fisheries for 20 years and authored over 40 scientific papers addressing fishery issues in the Gulf of Mexico.  He is also a member of the Gulf Estuarine Research Society, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Coastal Resources Advisory Committee for Texas Parks and Wildlife, and American Fisheries Society.