Royal red shrimp fishing waters reopened in Gulf of Mexico

07 Feb 2011
Royal red shrimp fishing waters have been reopened in the Gulf of Mexico

Royal red shrimp fishing waters have been reopened in the Gulf of Mexico

NOAA has reopened 4,213 square miles (10,911 sq km) of area it had previously closed to royal red shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Mexico in response to the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

NOAA Fisheries Service prohibited royal red shrimp fishing in this area as a precautionary measure, after a fisherman targeting this species reported catching tar balls in his bottom trawl.

The closure was instituted in consultation with the FDA to ensure seafood safety while NOAA further investigated the situation. NOAA analysed royal red shrimp and tar ball samples collected from the fisherman, and conducted additional sampling and video surveillance in and around the closed area to determine the extent and magnitude of tar balls and to collect additional shrimp and finfish samples for analysis.

NOAA has completed the analysis and determined, in consultation with the FDA, shrimp and finfish from the area are safe to eat. All seafood samples have passed both sensory and chemical testing. The test results are available at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/deepwater_horizon_oil_spill.htmThe area immediately surrounding the wellhead remains closed to all fishing. The closed area now measures 1,041 square miles (2,697 sq km). All commercial and recreational fishing, including catch and release, is prohibited in this closed area. Transit through the closed area is allowed; however, the US District Court in New Orleans has ordered the establishment of a security zone extending 750 feet in all directions from the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon wreckage site and its debris field.

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