Release Date: 05/16/2010

Effective Immediately  5/16/10

After the test results showed that the oily substance on the May 14, 2010 catch of a fishing vessel was not related to the Deepwater Horizon spill, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced the following openings to recreational and commercial fishing activities effective immediately, May 16, 2010. Now that LDWF has confirmed the reported contamination had no connection to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill a new investigation will begin to determine how the petroleum product came in contact with the catch.

Inshore Opening

Inshore waters south of 29 degrees 19 minutes 59 seconds north latitude and north of 29 degrees 10 minutes 16 seconds north latitude and between 91 degrees 21 minutes 09 seconds west longitude at Point au Fer to longitude 90 degrees 39 minutes 00 seconds west longitude in the vicinity of Cocodrie.

Territorial Sea Opening

The state's territorial seas from Point au Fer eastward to 91 degrees west longitude.

Please note that these areas are open to both recreational and commercial fishing except in those areas closed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to oyster harvesting.

The Secretary's actions today re-open the additional water bodies that were closed by the May 15, 2010 emergency action in response to the report of oiled seafood catch.  Precautionary closures of recreational and commercial fishing have been implemented based on the best information the Secretary of the Department receives from field biologists, staff and trajectory models from NOAA.

Once reports of oil are received, LDWF initiates a field survey and immediate seafood testing in the suspected areas.  Closures are subsequently made with the intent to be as safe as possible, while not closing any fishing areas unnecessarily.  As test results come back clearing the area, effected waters are then reopened. 

"Our department remains on high-alert as we make daily assessments of state water ways," said Secretary Robert Barham.  "I want people to be out there fishing, this is the Sportsman's Paradise, but at the same time the safety of our seafood must be a top priority."

LDWF continues to work closely with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to conduct coast-wide sampling of fish, crabs and shrimp, to ensure all seafood harvested from the Gulf is a safe, quality product.  To date, all test results of seafood sampled from Louisiana have been negative for hydrocarbons. 

For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter @GOHSEP. View photos in from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.

For more information please contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov or 225.765.2335 or 225.610.2363.