LDWF reopens all state waters to recreational fishing

Staff reports

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission ordered an immediate opening Friday of all state inshore and offshore territorial waters to recreational angling, including charter boat angling. 

The areas opened by the commission do not include the recreational harvest of shrimp, crabs or oysters. 

Prior to Friday’s action, about 862 square miles or 11 percent of saltwater areas of the state remained closed to all recreational fishing due to the impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

LDWF, in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is continuing to provide additional fish tissue samples for sensory testing and chemical analysis in preparation for re-opening areas currently closed to commercial crabbing and commercial fishing.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission also voted to submit a letter, urging the FDA and NOAA to expedite the required testing to re-open commercial fishing areas previously closed due to confirmed reports of oil.

LDWF guidelines for re-opening commercial fishing areas are as follows:

• Once visible signs of oil are no longer apparent in areas that were previously closed by LDWF to commercial fishing, LDWF will then submit an “intent to reopen” to NOAA and the FDA

• LDWF biologists will conduct thorough sampling of finfish, crabs and shrimp in the proposed reopening area

• Following the collection of the samples, biologists will immediately transfer specimens to be tested by the FDA and NOAA for signs of chemical contamination. This process is expected to take between seven and ten days

• After complete analysis the FDA and NOAA will render an opinion regarding proposed reopening