Change in habitat is a significant factor for most of the organisms.

  • Pollution can also have a negative impact on the health of species and their ability to reproduce.
  • Additionally, over-harvesting by fishermen, hunters, and trappers can harm animal populations.

In spite of threats that face animal species throughout the Barataria and Terrebonne basins, data indicates that most have not experienced continuous declines in population over the past thirty years. This is true for all estuarine dependent finfish and shellfish and for most of the wading birds and raptors.

BTNEP continues to monitor the changes in living resources.

There are success stories related to living resources too. Alligators, the Louisiana Black Bear, and birds, such as the American Bald Eagle and the Brown Pelican, have recovered following near extinction in the area due to reproductive failure caused by pesticides or over hunting. Recovery efforts have made significant increase in the numbers and health of these animals. Several species have come off the USFWS threatened and endangered species list.

Migratory waterfowl that winter in the region are monitored to help track continental trends.

New concerns about overfishing of blue crabs remind residents of the need for conservation. In 2017, Louisiana hosted the first blue crab fishing closure in February to identify if this technique might have an effect on crab populations. Additionally, female crabs should not be harvested if they are immature (those with triangular aprons on their bellies) or if they are in the “berry” stage (carrying the eggs of the young on the abdomen – locally called pom-pom crabs).

Hunters and fishers are reminded to check the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries site annually for changes to the regulations.

Probable Causes

  • Historic habitat loss/modification
  • Commercial fishing (over-fishing)
  • Historic wildlife hunting (over-harvesting)
  • Aquaculture
  • Water pollution (eutrophication, pathogens, toxins)
  • Conflicts between recreational and commercial fisheries
  • Introduction of exotic species

Probable Impact

  • Decreases in sport and commercial fish and shellfish populations
  • Changes in furbearing and waterfowl populations with sport and commercial value
  • Reduced recreation and commercial value of wetlands and estuaries
  • Decreased populations or extinction of some native species