Deepwater Horizon: Fishing restrictions follow spill

NOAA, a bureau of the US Department of Commerce, has restricted fishing for a minimum of 10 days in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico not affected by the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon.

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, DC -- NOAA, a bureau of the US Department of Commerce, has restricted fishing for a minimum of 10 days in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico not affected by the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon. The area is mainly between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississipi River and the region off Pensacola Bay in Florida. 

NOAA has sent scientists to the area of the spill to take water and seafood samples in an attempt to safeguard seafood and fishing activities, said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator, who met with over 100 fishermen in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish on Friday. 

The federal and state governments have systems in place to test and monitor food safety, to prohibit harvesting from affected areas, and to keep oil-contaminated products out of the marketplace. NOAA Fisheries is also co-operating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the States to assess whether seafood is tainted or contaminated to levels that pose a risk to human health. 

“There are finfish, crabs, oysters and shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico near the area of the oil spill,” said Roy Crabtree, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Administrator. 

According to NOAA, 3.2 million recreational fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico region went on 24 million fishing trips in 2008. Commercial fishermen in the Gulf harvested more than 1 billion lb of finfish and shellfish in 2008. 

NOAA is working with the state governors to evaluate the need to declare a fisheries disaster to facilitate federal aid to fishermen in these areas. The states of Louisiana and Mississippi have requested NOAA to declare a federal fisheries disaster. BP will be hiring fishermen to help clean up from the spill and deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. 

05/05/2010

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