NOAA reopens last of formerly closed Gulf waters

May 2011 News

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reopened to commercial and recreational fishing 1,041 square miles of Gulf waters immediately surrounding the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, just east of Louisiana.

This is the 12th and final reopening in federal waters since July 22. It opens all of the areas in federal waters formerly closed to fishing because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

"I am pleased to announce that all federal waters affected by the spill are now open to all fishing," Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, said in a statement. "I thank fishermen and the public for their patience and [the Food and Drug Administration] for its support and cooperation throughout this process while we worked diligently to ensure the integrity of Gulf seafood."

The reopened area is about 0.4 percent of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and 100 percent of the formerly closed area, as last modified on Feb. 2.

 No oil or sheen has been documented in the area since Aug. 4. At its peak, the closed area was 88,522 square miles, or 37 percent, of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

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