CAMERON, LA (KPLC-TV) – The federal government has extended a no fishing ban that includes areas west of Holly Beach in Cameron Parish.
The fishing ban now extends 17 miles from the Louisiana-Texas border.
Shortly after the oil spill crisis began in April, NOAA implemented a ban in a large area of the Gulf of Mexico. The ban gradually expanded westward as the oil spill crisis continued.
The ban west of Holly Beach was announced on July 12th, but many fishermen did not know anything about the expansion until more recently.
Nick Poe, with Big Lake Guide Service, said he learned from a friend about the ban, which extends 3 to 20 miles across varying points off the Cameron coast. Poe said a game warden confirmed the news to him a few days ago.
"I spend a lot of time out there," said Poe. "A lot of my friends and a lot of their friends spend a lot of time out there."
Poe said many of his clients are also surprised when he tells them about the ban.
"A lot of these people do want to go out there, and I tell them we're going to have to catch [the fish] in the lake today because we can't go out there," said Poe.
NOAA, the federal agency tasked with enforcing the ban, said the ban is a precautionary move to protect consumers from fish that could be contaminated because of the oil spill.
NOAA said they continue to test samples of fish in both the banned area and in areas outside of the banned area. NOAA said this allows them to monitor whether potentially contaminated fish are migrating to new areas.
The U.S. Coast Guard is the primary enforcer of the ban.
Anyone caught fishing in the banned area will have to toss their catch back into the water and could face stiff financial penalties.
Poe said there are still plenty of areas for him and other Cameron fishermen to fish at. They just hope the ban is lifted soon.
For exact coordinates of the ban, the areas to avoid, call 1-800-627-6622. You can also get the latest updates about no fishing zones along the Gulf Coast by texting fishing@gulf to 84469.