GRAND ISLE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal traveled to the Bridge Side Marina in Grand Isle where he joined dozens of fishermen and members of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) to highlight the reopening of recreational fishing areas. On Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) announced significant openings to recreational fishing that were previously closed due to the oil spill. With this action, approximately 86 percent of recreational fishing in Louisiana was opened immediately. The openings allow recreational anglers, including recreational shrimping, crabbing and fishing, to resume. This opening includes licensed charter boat guides and bait fishermen or dealers who harvest for and sell to recreational fishermen exclusively.
Governor Jindal said, “It was great to see this marina packed today with Louisianians who have been waiting to get back on the water to go catch their limit. Louisiana is Sportsman’s Paradise and the reopening of recreational fishing areas gives our people a chance to have a piece of their way of life back.
“Not only is the reopening important for the folks who enjoy going out on the water, but this is also about the livelihoods of our people, including charter boat captains and bait fishermen or dealers. Our charter boat captains and bait dealers are ready for folks to get back on the water and I encourage everyone to take a trip down to the coast and experience Sportsman’s Paradise.”
Louisiana has submitted proposals to BP to conduct a five-year fishery resource-monitoring plan and to increase testing and sampling. Contingent on BP approval of this funding, Louisiana plans to conduct 400 samplings of shrimp, crab, oysters, and finfish each month in all coastal parishes and waters to guarantee the safety of the state’s seafood and fisheries and to complement the ongoing water sampling. The state will ramp up monitoring and sampling activities to expedite knowledge of fishery areas that are safe so Louisiana can open these waters and get fishermen back in their boats as soon as possible.
Governor Jindal said he would also like to see commercial fishing open as quickly and safely as possible. The Governor said, “The FDA has oversight of seafood sold commercially and LDWF has already sent them a proposed plan to open the same areas that the Commission approved for recreational fishing. In fact, LDWF has provided the FDA with input and testing samples that are awaiting the FDA labs to be reviewed. The LWFC passed a resolution urging the FDA to review the testing samples that are sitting in their labs and we support that resolution so we can open commercial fishing quickly in the areas where it is safe.”
The Governor said the reopening of these recreational fishing areas is certainly good news, but Louisiana is not in the clear yet and he remains cautiously optimistic about the capping of the well.
Governor Jindal said, “We remain cautiously optimistic about the recent developments on the BP oil well in the Gulf. Of course, it is too early to declare victory and there is still a lot more work that needs to be done. We know the relief well is the ultimate fix. We have been fighting a war against this oil for months now and we know our battles don’t end even when the well is capped. Millions of gallons of oil are still in the Gulf and some estimates show that oil will continue to hit our shores for many more months or maybe even longer.
“Work to revitalize our coast won’t be done until our water and our shores are completely clean and our wildlife, our communities, and our coastal industries are 100 percent restored. I have no doubt that we will come back stronger than ever before from this disaster, just as we have done in our recovery from four devastating storms in three years. It’s the perseverance of the people of Louisiana that will ensure our successful recovery and fully restore our Louisiana Way of Life.”
Governor Jindal also highlighted his “Agenda for Revitalizing Coastal Louisiana” which sets a pathway forward for restoring Louisiana’s coast through four priority initiatives: implementing a coastal restoration plan, certifying Louisiana’s seafood and getting fishermen back on the water, lifting the moratorium so Louisiana can refuel America and holding BP accountable until Louisiana’s wildlife, air and marshes are restored.
The full “Agenda for Revitalizing Coastal Louisiana” can be found here .