State waters off Fourchon and Elmer's Island beaches have been closed to all commercial fishing and some recreation fishing because of a large tar mat and concentrations of tar balls on the beaches, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries announced today (Aug. 4).

Recreational rod-and-reel fishing is still permitted in the area, but other recreational fishing — such as crabbing, oystering and shrimping — are prohibited, LDWF's Randy Pausina told LouisianaSportsman.com by text.

The area affected by this emergency closure includes the portion of state outside waters seaward a distance of one mile from the shoreline 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.

The harvest of live bait by wholesale/retail seafood dealers who hold a special bait dealers permit and who harvest live bait for sale to recreational fishermen exclusively is also permitted.

The action was taken by LDWF Secretary Robert Barham in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, which will help determine the extent, source and potential impacts of the oil, the agency said.

In addition to this closure, certain areas are still closed to recreational and commercial fishing due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Maps of the areas still closed to recreational and commercial fishing are posted on the LDWF Web site.