BP spill: NOAA reopens more fishing areas

06 Oct 2010
The total area left closed to all fishing now measures 23,360 square miles.

The total area left closed to all fishing now measures 23,360 square miles.

NOAA has reopened 2,927 square miles of federal waters south of the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico to commercial and recreational fishing that it had previously closed in response to the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The total area left closed to all fishing now measures 23,360 square miles and covers about 10% of the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone.

All commercial and recreational fishing including catch and release is prohibited in this closed area. Transit through the closed area is allowed.

The next federal reopening priority is a 6,879-square mile area located about 200 nautical miles south of the Florida panhandle.

The reopened area was originally closed because oil was present in the area; however, no oil or sheen has been documented in the area since 31 July. Trajectory models show the area is at a low risk for future exposure to oil.

NOAA analysed 81 finfish samples for sensory analysis and 93 finfish samples in 10 composites for chemical analysis, including commercially and recreationally important species, such as snapper, tuna, and mahi mahi.

It also analysed five shrimp samples for sensory analysis and 21 shrimp samples in three 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.

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