Bonnet Carre Spillway Opening Takes Toll On Marine Life

Bonnet Carre Spillway The recent Louisiana high water events along with the opening of the Bonne Carre’ Spillway are having a noticeable effect on the state’s supply of oysters, shrimp, crab and finfish, according to preliminary assessments from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

The Numbers Are Staggering

Preliminary results from monitoring of commercial harvest using data available as of June 6 show that for oysters on public water-bottoms, landings have declined by 80 percent from the average for the year-to-date and are 89 percent below the average for March-April. Statewide shrimp landings (brown and white shrimp combined) declined by 36 percent for the month of March, and 63 percent for the month of April, when compared to the five-year average. Statewide blue crab landings have decreased by 33 percent for the month of March, and 45 percent for the month of April when compared to the five-year average. Concerning finfish, preliminary findings show that landings are down for black drum, 53 percent in the Vermilion-Tech basin and down 43 percent year-to-date in the Calcasieu basin, commercial black drum landings are down 31 percent year to date.  Recreational harvest of red drum and spotted seatrout are also reduced compared to other recent years, as monitored by LA Creel. Right now LDWF personnel are also monitoring salinities as well as abundance of fish and shellfish in all the major estuaries of the coast.

Furthermore, LDWF biologists  found that since January, there has been an increase in sea turtle and marine mammal strandings along the coast of the state. Sunday, June 16th,  marked 80 days that the Bonnet Carré Spillway has been open so far this year. The latest opening on May 10 was the second time this year, a first in the 88-year history of the spillway.

For more a complete list of findings, please view the LDWF preliminary report at

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