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Louisiana Safe Boating Week Set For May 19-25

Release Date: 05/18/2018

The state of Louisiana has issued a proclamation that recognizes May 19-25 as “Safe Boating Week” in Louisiana, which 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.  LDWF regulations also 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.

Alcohol use is one of the leading causes of boating crash incidents and fatalities on the water.  Alcohol consumption impairs a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  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.

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.  Since the safe boating course’s inception in 2003, over 110,000 boaters have been certified in Louisiana.

In 2017 Louisiana reported 19 boating fatalities.  So far in 2018 Louisiana has reported eight fatalities.

Agents Cite Two Subjects for Violating Calcasieu Lake Oyster Regulations

Release Date: 05/10/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two subjects for alleged oyster violations in Cameron Parish on May 7 during the extended oyster season.

Agents cited Ronald W. Gaspard, 61, and Joshua J. Lebouef, 39, both of Cameron, for violating Calcasieu Lake oyster regulations, taking oysters during illegal hours and taking undersized oysters from a natural reef.

Agents received complaints of subjects using a dredge in a tonging only area in West Cove Conditional Management Area.  Agents setup surveillance in the area and observed Gaspard and Lebouef take oysters during illegal hours and over the limit of oysters.  Agents also observed Gaspard and Lebouef take a dredge from their vessel and hide it in the marsh.

Agents made contact with the subjects and found them in possession of 14 sacks of oysters, of which 48 percent were undersized.  Gaspard and Lebouef admitted that seven sacks of oysters were caught during illegal hours and with the illegal dredge.

Agents seized the dredge and returned 14 sacks of oysters to the water.

Violating Calcasieu Lake oyster regulations and taking oysters during illegal hours, brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Taking undersized oysters from a natural reef brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

The offenders may also face forfeiting their permits to harvest oysters on Calcasieu Lake and be barred from obtaining permits for the remainder of the period for which it was issued plus one year, during which time the offenders will be barred from participating in any oyster harvesting activity on Calcasieu Lake.

Three Men Found with Over Two Times the Daily Limit of Red Drum

Release Date: 05/08/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited three men for alleged recreational fishing violations on May 6 in Jefferson Parish.

Agents cited Floyd W. Talley, 69, of Marrero, Adam H. Talley, 47, of Lafitte, and Carl J. Delery Jr., 58, of Kenner, for possession of over the limit and undersized red drum.

Agents were performing a boating safety and creel check when they found the men in possession of 35 red drum, of which 28 were undersized.  The subjects admitted to catching the fish that day.

The daily limit for red drum is five per person, with a minimum size limit of 16 inches. Agents seized the 35 red drum and donated them to a local charity.

Adam H. Talley was additionally cited for not having valid basic and saltwater fishing licenses.

Possession of over ten red drum brings a $400 to $900 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possession of undersized red drum carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Failing to possess basic fishing and saltwater fishing licenses each brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

The men may also face civil restitution for the replacement value of the illegally possessed fish totaling up to $926.45.

Gross Littering Case Leads to Outstanding Warrants and Drug Arrests

Release Date: 05/07/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested a man and woman for alleged drug violations on May 5 in Lafayette Parish.

Agents arrested Sean N. Covington, 43, of Rayne, for possession of schedule II narcotics, possession of schedule IV narcotics, gross littering, a traffic bench warrant for expired plate and driving under suspension, a misdemeanor bench warrant for theft, and a felony bench warrant for theft over $750 to under $5000.  Agents also arrested Amanda D. Bergeron, 31, of Rayne, for a felony fugitive warrant of theft over $750 to under $5000.

Agents were notified about a littering site.  While investigating the litter pile, agents found information that linked Covington as the suspected dumper.

Agents were able to perform a traffic stop on Covington and it was confirmed that Covington had three warrants for his arrest in Lafayette Parish.  While conducting a pat down of Covington, the agents found a bottle of pills containing 37 Lortabs and 36 Xanex.

Upon running the information on Bergeron, who was a passenger in the vehicle, agents learned that Bergeron was a fugitive from Lafayette Parish and had an active warrant for her arrest.

Illegal possession of a schedule II and schedule IV drug each brings one to five years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine for each offense.  Gross littering carries up to a $900 fine and 16 hours of community service to be served in a litter abatement program.

Agents booked Covington and Bergeron into the Lafayette Parish Jail.

Two Men Arrested for Oyster Theft in St. Bernard Parish

Release Date: 05/07/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men for alleged commercial fishing violations on May 4 in St. Bernard Parish.

Agents arrested Prince G. Taylor, 61, of Kentwood, and Ameal Wilson, 64, of Magnolia, Miss., for unlawfully taking oysters off a private lease and failure to have written permission.

Agents were on patrol in Lake Coquille when they observed Taylor in a vessel actively dredging for oysters in an area not leased to him around 10:30 a.m.  Agents seized 14 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water.  Agents also placed a forfeiture order for Taylor's vessel and two dredges.  Agents then booked the men into the St. Bernard Parish Jail.

Unlawfully taking oysters off a private lease and failing to have written permission both carry up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail for each offense.

The men could also face having their oyster harvester licenses revoked by LDWF for up to one year.  The violators could also be sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service and only be allowed to harvest oysters from a vessel that is equipped with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year.

Body of Baton Rouge Man Recovered from Gulf of Mexico

Release Date: 05/05/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents found the deceased body of a missing boater in Plaquemines Parish this morning, May 5.

LDWF agents along with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office and LDWF Wildlife Division staff found the body of Donald Tabb, 85, of Baton Rouge, around 10:30 a.m. near the Southwest Pass over 10 miles from where he was reported missing.

Tabb had been missing since May 2 when he was a part of a fatal boating incident near South Pass.  Tabb, John Frey, 86, of Magnolia, Texas, and a survivor from Baton Rouge were on a 27-foot vessel when they capsized around 7 a.m. on May 2 about a half mile from South Pass in the Gulf of Mexico.

The survivor was able to retrieve Frey and get him to shore where he was unresponsive and pronounced dead by a medical examiner on the scene.  Tabb went under the water and never resurfaced.

Frey and Tabb’s bodies were turned over the Plaquemines Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.  None of the men were wearing a personal flotation device at the time of the incident.  It is unknown at this time what caused the vessel to capsize.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Opens Online Portal for Civil Restitution Payments

Release Date: 05/04/2018

BATON ROUGE, La.--The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has expanded its method of collecting payments for civil restitution associated with violations. Violators can now pay their civil restitution online from anywhere at any time using major credit cards.

An online portal, developed in partnership with Louisiana Interactive, is now available for the convenience of those that need to pay civil restitution. The new technology will allow LDWF to collect civil restitution payments in a more efficient manner.

LDWF is committed to both, ensuring the state receives all restitution owed, and that the public has innovative and user-friendly tools to fulfill their monetary obligations.

In cases that involve civil restitution, LDWF will inform violators by mail of their responsibility to pay the civil restitution for the replacement value of the illegally taken wildlife, fish or damaged habitat.

The new secure portal is available here and can be accessed on any device. A link to this portal will also be available on LDWF’s homepage, www.wlf.la.gov.

“Louisianans are known for their love of our Sportsman’s Paradise,” said Secretary Jack Montoucet. “We are providing this convenient digital service to collect restitution that helps us maintain Louisiana’s wildlife for future generations.”

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