The combination of the lingering effects of 2010’s BP-Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and Hurricane Isaac’s push into coastal Louisiana showed Tuesday when the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries closed waters from Caminada Pass at Grand Isle west to Belle Pass.
The closure does not apply to recreational nor charter-boat angling, nor to the taking of live bait by special bait dealers permit holders. The bait taken can be sold only to recreational and charter fishermen. All other commercial and recreational fishing, including crabbing and shrimping, is banned.
LDWF secretary Robert Barham said the action was a joint move by the LDWF and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The announcement indicated Barham ordered the closure “due to the emergence of a large tar mat and concentrations of tar balls on adjacent beaches.”
The emergency closure takes in state outside waters out one mile from the shoreline in the area “from the eastern shore of Belle Pass at 90 degrees, 13 minutes, 30 seconds west longitude eastward to the western shore of Caminada Pass at 90 degrees, 02 minutes, 46.6 seconds west longitude.”
Maps of this area and three others that have remained closed to all commercial and recreational fishing, other than recreational and charter finfish activities, can be found on the LDWF’s website: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill.
Reports from the Lake Verret basin are not good.
Beginning late Monday, dead fish were seen in Belle River, in the canals near of Lakes Verret, Grassy and Palourde, canals north of Pierre Part and along the banks of Lake Verret. The number of dead fish increased Tuesday and Wednesday.
Other fishermen called to report minor kills found in the backwaters of Catfish Lake and other backwater areas north of Little Bayou Pigeon. Most of the fish seen were shad, green sunfish, small bluegill and other small fishes.
Another report came in on another small fish kill in two canals off Bayou Long.
A reminder that LDWF fisheries biologists are asking the public to report on fish kills by calling (800) 442-2511.
Thursday’s Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. in a new location.
A water main broke three weeks ago at LDWF state headquarters and damaged the first-floor Louisiana Room, forcing the LWFC to move its meeting to Conference Center auditorium at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at 6400 Perkins Rd.
LDWF managers said Hurricane Isaac’s impact in the southeastern parishes forced the move of the Wild Alligator Lottery season from Saturday (Sept. 8) to next Wednesday (Sept. 12) on the Pearl River, Joyce, Manchac and Maurepas Swamp wildlife management areas.
Otherwise, the state is open for the alligator harvest, although state managers continued to urge gator hunters to “verify that their selected buyer will be open to buy harvested alligators, prior to beginning any harvest effort.”
For details on the postponed season on the four WMAs, call Christian Winslow (985) 543-4781 at the LDWF’s Hammond Field Office.
La. 1, the highway that leads from Fourchon Road to Grand Isle is open for 24-hour traffic. The roadway, damaged by Isaac, was closed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for more than a week. Word from the Louisiana State Police was that motorists should expect daytime reconstruction delays. The speed limit on La. 1 in this area is 45 mph.
The LSU AgCenter’s initial post-Isaac report is that animals in the wild fared well.
Through an LSU release, AgCenter professor Don Reed said that while Isaac’s floodwaters displaced wildlife species — high water moves large game animals like deer to higher ground — all wild animals “should be left alone by the public and not harassed in any way.”
Reed said most wild animals will return to their ranges, and added that the storm’s winds blew lots of acorns from trees and should provide a stable food source for deer.
Call LDWF hotline (800) 442-2511 for situations involving alligators, black bears and other wildlife “that present an immediate threat to public safety.”
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