NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service opened another 5,130 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico to fishing yesterday.

The area opened back up to both commercial and recreational fishing are federal waters off the coasts of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.   The area off the Florida panhandle that was previously open only for finfish is now open for all fishing.

BP_OilSpill_FisheryClosureMap_090210.jpgThe decision to open more federal waters to fishing came on the same day that another oil platform in the Gulf caught fire, forcing workers to evacuate into the sea below.  It was the first such incident since the April 20 Deepwater Horizon exploded and killed 11 oil workers.

Thursday’s incident was far less serious as workers escaped any serious injury and the Coast Guard said there was no oil leak involved.

NOAA continues to keep 43,000 square miles of the Gulf closed to all types of fishing.  Almost in the center of that area—about the size of the State of Virginia—is the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon site. 

Boats may transit the closed waters as long as they are not fishing.

Areas re-opened have not seen oil since July 12 and the last light sheens were reported July 29.  Seafood tests in the newly opened areas have been negative for oil and dispersant odors and flavors and no problems with chemicals have been found.

  • Brian J. Donovan

    I would not allow my children to eat Gulf seafood. I do not have a great deal of faith in “sensory experts.”
    This article briefly discusses BP’s strategy to limit its liability in regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout. This strategy includes, but is not limited to, intentionally underestimating the rate of flow of oil that’s being released into the Gulf of Mexico, prohibiting independent measurement of the BP oil gusher by unbiased third party scientists and engineers, the excessive and unprecedented use of dispersants (both on the surface and underwater), systematically and intentionally collecting as small an amount of oil as possible from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and controlling and restricting media access to the areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher.
    Although this article was published on July 11, 2010, it is still timely.

  • Thank Goodness, we are all happy that the fishermen can return to work now.