BP oil spill: NOAA closes shrimp fishery

30 Nov 2010
NOAA closed the re-opened royal red shrimp fishery after it received a report from a fisherman who caught tarballs.

NOAA closed the re-opened royal red shrimp fishery after it received a report from a fisherman who caught tarballs.

NOAA has closed 4,213 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico to royal red shrimp fishing following the discovery of tarballs. This area had previously opened to all fishing, and fishing for finfish or penaeid shrimp species is still allowed.

On 15 November, NOAA opened an 8,403 square mile area previously closed to fishing following the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This decision was based on analysis of 286 finfish samples for sensory analysis and 207 finfish samples in 33 composites for chemical analysis.

NOAA also analysed 55 shrimp samples (royal red and penaeid species) for sensory analysis and 50 shrimp samples in nine composites for chemical analysis. Sensory testing showed no detectable oil or dispersant odours or flavours in the samples, and the results of chemical analysis were well below levels of concern for oil.

On Saturday 20 November, NOAA received a report from a fisherman who caught tarballs while trawling for royal red shrimp. NOAA took this report seriously and is testing samples of his catch. Vessels will be sent out to collect more samples.

Royal red shrimp are caught in waters deeper than 100 fathoms and are the only species targeted with shrimp trawls at this depth.

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