Today the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission received briefings on the latest impact of the oil spill in the Gulf, which resulted from the Deepwater Horizon drilling accident. Based on this update and other biological data, the commission took the following action on fishing closures and openings.
Continued fishing closures
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission issued a declaration of emergency at todays meeting, continuing the closure of both recreational and commercial fishing in some coastal areas east of the Mississippi River.
"Today's actions by the commission help ensure that Louisianians are safe from any ill-effects from this oil spill," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. "We are continuing to monitor the spill and work with our state partners to ensure all Louisiana waters are safe for fishing."
Barham announced the initial closure of both recreational and commercial fishing on April 30 in cooperation with the Department of Health and Hospitals who announced a concurrent closure of certain oyster harvesting areas. The closed fishing area includes coastal waters east of the Mississippi River, excluding the coastal boundaries of Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.
Louisiana spring shrimp season to open
The opening dates of the 2010 Louisiana spring shrimp season were announced at todays meeting. The commission set the spring shrimp season dates based on the authority provided in statute. The commission also took into consideration the recent developments and predicted trajectory from the Deepwater Horizon incident. LDWF Secretary Barham was also granted the authority to adjust these season dates based upon biological and technical data.
The 2010 Louisiana shrimp season will open as follows:
- Shrimp Management Zone 2 beginning at the eastern shore of South Pass at the Mississippi River westward to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island to open at 6 AM, May 10, 2010.
- Portions of the Calcasieu ship channel and the Sabine River ship channel within Zone 3 shall open at 6 AM, May 10, 2010
- The remaining portion of Shrimp Management Zone 3 will open at 6 AM, May 31, 2010
The Commission also granted authority to the LDWF secretary to open the spring shrimp season both inside and outside state waters within Shrimp Management Zone 1 when the current LDWF precautionary fisheries closure within these waters is suspended.
The Commission gave Barham authority to delay the opening of the 2010 spring inshore shrimp season if biological and technical data indicate the presence of significant numbers of small-sized brown shrimp. It also gave authority to close any portion of Louisiana's inside waters to protect small white shrimp if biological and technical data indicate the need to do so, or enforcement problems develop.
LDWF management recommendations for spring inshore opening dates utilize criteria which project the date when a minimum of 50 percent of the inshore brown shrimp population sampled reach sizes of 100 count (per pound) or larger. Last year, Louisiana shrimp landings totaled 110.3 million pounds (all species combined/heads-on weight) and were valued at $113 million dockside.
For more information related to the oil spill, visit 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 www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep .
For more information contact Laura Deslatte at 225.610.2363 or firstname.lastname@example.org .