Tilapia in Plaquemines Parish waterway forces closure

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has closed off fishing in an area south of Port Sulphur in Plaquemines Parish following discovery of tilapia in public waterways in the vicinity. LDWF officials notified CCA Louisiana of their action and we believe the department has taken the correct step needed to protect the area.

Tilapia, fish native to Africa, are exotic species capable of displacing native fish and are currently prohibited from being possessed in Louisiana except under extremely restrictive permits issued to tilapia producers. LDWF says it appears the tilapia are currently confined to an area that can be treated. If allowed to spread, tilapia could result in drastic environmental, recreational and economical impacts, and fishermen, both commercial and recreational, could be pathways that spread tilapia into other Louisiana waters.

The closure includes both public and private waters bounded on the north by St. Jude Road, on the east by the Mississippi River main levee, on the south by Milan Drive and on the west by the back levee of the drainage ditch. Effective with the closure, no person shall take or possess or attempt to take any species of fish from waters within the closed area. No person shall possess while on the waters of the closed area any fishing gear capable of taking fish. This area will remain closed to fishing until reopened by the LDWF Secretary.

During the closure, a staged application of the fish toxicant rotenone will be led by the LDWF Office of Fisheries in an effort to eradicate the tilapia that exist in affected waterways. Rotenone, a naturally derived fish toxicant, is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and will dissipate over time within the waterway where it is used.

CCA Louisiana asks all members to cooperate with the closure and to report any landing of a tilapia outside of the closure area to LDWF Inland Fisheries at (225) 765-2865. For more information visit LDWF?s Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov.