In a news release on July 14, 2010, 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 were opened effective 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."
This is a significant event in the lives of charter captains and guides in the Louisiana area, as it allows them to resume their businesses. Tourists and visitors to Louisiana need to be aware that fishing is still great and that as time goes on, even the areas that are still closed will be opened . We hope the commercial interests will be as fortunate to have more areas of the Gulf opened in the near future.