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Lake Pontchartrain reefs completed

Thursday November 06, 2003

By Jerald Horst

The Lake Pontchartrain Artificial Reef Working Group has announced the completion of three new artificial fishing reefs in Lake Pontchartrain.

Their latitude and longitude coordinates are as follows:

-- Reef H1: 30 degrees, 5 minutes, 1.68 seconds, 90 degrees, 12 minutes, 5.76 seconds;

-- Reef H2: 30 degrees, 5 minutes, 2.04 seconds, 90 degrees, 12 minutes, 34.92 seconds;

-- Reef H3: 30 degrees, 5 minutes, 17.34 seconds, 90 degrees, 12 minutes, 20.16 seconds.

The reefs are in a loose cluster about 3 miles west of the Causeway bridge and 2 ½ miles north of the Jefferson Parish shoreline.

Unlike the first reef constructed by the group, which was made of limestone aggregate, these are made of reef balls. Reef balls are 2- to 3-foot hollow concrete spheres, perforated by large holes.

According to Louisiana State University AgCenter marine advisor

Mark Schexnayder, who acts as technical facilitator for the reef project, using reef balls instead of limestone rocks will provide more vertical relief and produce more current breaks.

That, he said, will attract forage species, which will in turn attract predator species, such as speckled trout and redfish.

The working group is jointly led by

John Lopez of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Woody Crews of the Jefferson Parish Marine Fisheries Advisory Board.

Formation of the group was stimulated by the adoption of a resolution by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in 2000 urging reef creation in the lake. Help from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was crucial in the permitting and surveying process.

Populations of fish and other creatures on the reefs will be monitored by

Mike Porrier of the University of New Orleans.

Fishing seasons

-- Shrimp -- Offshore waters: open. Inshore waters: zones 2 and 3, open until Dec. 16. Zone 1 open until Dec. 31, except for Breton and Chandeleur sounds, which shall remain open.

-- Oyster -- Bay Gardene and Hackberry Bay Oyster seed reservations, the temporary natural reef in Little Lake and the primary public seed grounds and public sacking area east of the Mississippi River, open until April 1. Calcasieu Lake public tonging area, open until April 30. All closings will be a half hour after sunset. All other public areas closed.

-- Redfish -- Federal waters: recreational and commercial, closed. State waters: commercial, closed; recreational, open.

-- Speckled trout -- Commercial rod and reel, closed until Jan. 2.

-- Striped mullet -- Commercial strike net, open until Jan. 15.

-- Pompano -- Commercial strike net season in Breton and Chandeleur sounds, closed until Aug. 1.

-- Swordfish -- Commercial, open.

-- King mackerel -- Commercial, closed until July 1.

-- Spanish mackerel -- Commercial, open.

-- Giant bluefin tuna -- Recreational, open. Commercial, open.

-- Red snapper -- Recreational, closed until April 21. Commercial, open until Nov. 10.

-- Deep-water groupers (warsaw, strawberry, misty, snowy, yellowedge) -- Commercial, open.

-- Gag, black and red groupers -- Commercial, open until Feb. 15.

-- Amberjack -- Commercial, open to Feb. 29.

-- Bullfrogs and lagoon frogs -- Open to March 31.

-- Large coastal sharks in federal waters -- Closed until Jan. 1.

-- Sharks in state waters -- Commercial, closed until Jan. 1. Recreational, open until March 31.


-- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will meet today at 10 a.m. at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge.

-- The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and its committees will meet Sunday starting at 1 p.m. until Wednesday at noon at the Palace Casino Resort in Biloxi, Miss.

-- The Louisiana State Seafood Industry Advisory Board will meet Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building in Baton Rouge.

. . . . . . .

Jerald Horst is a fisheries professor at the LSU AgCenter. Fisheries questions may be answered by calling marine agents Mark Schexnayder, 838-1170 in Jefferson, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes; Brian LeBlanc, 893-4449, in St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes; and Rusty Gaude, 433-3664, in Plaquemines, St. Bernard and Orleans parishes.

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