One-third of Gulf of Mexico now closed

03 Jun 2010
The Gulf fishery closure boundary as of June 1, 2010. The closure area may be updated daily as necessary. (Image: NOAA)

The Gulf fishery closure boundary as of June 1, 2010. The closure area may be updated daily as necessary. (Image: NOAA)

NOAA has again extended the northern and southern boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico in an attempt to limit the impact of the spreading BP oil spill.

This latest expansion has been initiated to capture portions of the slick moving into waters off eastern Alabama and the western tip of the Florida panhandle, as well as some large patches of sheen moving onto the west Florida shelf and southward to Cuban waters.

The closed area now represents 75,920 square miles, which is slightly more than 31% of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. This leaves 68% of Gulf federal waters open for fishing.

The closure was effective at 6pm (EDT) on 1 June.

The previous closed area modification was just one day earlier on 31 May, when 61,854 square miles were closed to fishing, or roughly 26% of the Gulf’s federal waters.

This extension of the fishing closed area due to the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill coincides with the 1 June opening of the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper season.    

However, NOAA’s Fisheries Service is increasing the level of data collection to more closely monitor the effects of the oil spill on Gulf recreational fishing. This will allow the agency to adjust the closure date for recreational fishing seasons as appropriate, including the red snapper season which is scheduled to close at 12:01am on 24 July.    

“We are communicating regularly with Gulf fishermen about real-time oil spill observations and projections, as well as collecting feedback on what they see while out fishing,” said Roy Crabtree, NOAA’s Fisheries Service southeast regional administrator. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and we are prepared to extend fishing seasons if we see catches are down, and seafood is safe.”
   

Links to related companies and recent articles ...

NOAA

view more