NOAA reopens federal waters to fishing

GULF OF MEXICO — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reopened federal waters adjacent to Mississippi waters to commercial and recreational fishing previously closed in response to the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The re-opened area was originally closed because oil was present in the area; however, no oil has been documented in the area since July 12 and only scattered light sheens since July 29. Trajectory models show the area is at a low risk for future exposure to oil.

According to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR), NOAA collected shrimp and finfish samples from this area, including commercially and recreationally important species, such as red snapper. Sensory testing showed no detectable oil or dispersant odors or flavors in the samples, and the results of chemical analysis were well below levels of concern.

NOAA continues to work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the states to ensure seafood safety. The DMR, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, NOAA and the FDA are working together to sample seafood from inside and outside the opened area, as well as dockside- and market-based sampling.

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