Today Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced significant openings to recreational fishing. With this action, approximately 86 percent of recreational fishing in Louisiana will be open immediately today, July 14.
"The measures taken today by the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will allow recreational anglers, including recreational shrimping, crabbing and fishing, to resume," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. "While I am pleased and fully support today?s action, I caution all fishermen to exercise caution while fishing in areas closed to commercial fishing."
This opening includes licensed charter boat guides and bait fishermen or dealers who harvest for and sell to recreational fishermen exclusively.
Recreational fishing is being allowed subject to continual testing and monitoring, as this activity is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. To date the Environmental Protection Agency?s near shore water tests have shown chemical contamination levels below public health concern.
"I consider today's action the first step in opening state waters to all fishing, both recreational and commercial," added Barham.
Although recreational fishing will be allowed in portions of the previously closed fishing areas, certain delineated areas, including heavily oiled areas, areas associated with boom and areas of active cleanup continue to be closed to recreational fishing.
It is advised that recreational fishermen avoid areas where oil is observed, respect oil cleanup and removal activities and stay clear of areas being protected by boom material. Smell and examine catch closely to ensure that there are no obvious oil or chemical residues. Recreational fishermen fishing in areas closed to commercial fishermen do so at their own risk.
All previously issued commercial fishing closures remain in place.
For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us onwww.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts athttp://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.
For more information contact Marianne Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-765-2917.