Fishing Boat in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — Yesterday marked a significant milestone for recreational fishermen in Louisiana. After weeks of closures, the state opened approximately 86 percent of recreational fishing areas.

Recreational fishing differs from commercial fishing, which remains off limits in many areas. The move, however, was hailed by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham as a major step for returning to normalcy.

“I consider [yesterday's] action the first step in opening state waters to all fishing, both recreational and commercial,” Barham said.

The opening includes licensed charter boat guides and bait fishermen or dealers who harvest for and sell to recreational fishermen exclusively. Essentially, it allows recreational anglers, including shrimping, crabbing and fishing, to resume fishing.

Certain heavily oiled areas with boom and active cleanup crews remain closed to recreational fishing. Barham also cautioned recreational fishermen to use caution in areas still off limits for commercial fishing.