[StBernard] NOAA Reopens More Than 8, 000 Square Miles in the Gulf of Mexico to Fishing

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Mon Nov 15 20:24:08 EST 2010

NOAA Reopens More Than 8,000 Square Miles in the Gulf of Mexico to Fishing

99.6 percent of federal waters now open

NOAA reopened 8,403 square miles of Gulf waters which extend from the
Louisiana state water line to due south of the Alabama/Florida state line to
commercial and recreational fishing today. This is the eleventh reopening in
federal waters since July 22.

This reopening was announced after consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration and under a reopening protocol agreed to by NOAA, the FDA,
and the Gulf states.

The total area reopened today is about 3.5 percent of federal waters in the
Gulf of Mexico and 89 percent of the current closed area, as last modified
on October 22. No oil or sheen has been documented in the area since July
25. At its closest point, the area to be reopened is about 10 miles from the

NOAA says that this area was sampled between August 31 and November 1 for
finfish and shrimp, including tuna, swordfish, escolar, and royal red
shrimp. NOAA reports that sensory analyses of 286 finfish samples and 55
shrimp samples and chemical analyses of 207 finfish samples in 33 composites
and 50 shrimp samples in nine composites followed the methodology and
procedures in the reopening protocol, with sensory analysis finding no
detectable oil or dispersant odors or flavors, and results of chemical
analysis for oil-related compounds and dispersants well below the levels of

"This is the first reopening where we have added a supplemental test to
detect dispersants in seafood, and all the samples passed," said Jane
Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and
NOAA Administrator. "This is yet another indication that our Gulf seafood is
safe for consumption."

NOAA and the FDA announced on October 29, 2010 that they have developed and
implemented a chemical test to detect the presence of dispersants in fish,
oysters, crabs and shrimp. The level of concern for dispersants is 100 parts
per million for finfish and 500 parts per million for shrimp. The test can
reliably detect Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS) at levels of 2000 times
below the lowest level of concern.

NOAA continues to work closely with the FDA and the Gulf states to ensure
seafood safety. NOAA and FDA are working together on broad-scale seafood
sampling that includes sampling seafood from inside and outside the closure
area, as well as dockside and market-based sampling.

An area covering 1,041 square miles immediately surrounding the wellhead,
remains closed to fishing. The boundary of the fishery closure has changed
32 times after it was first instituted on May 2, at which time it covered
about 3 percent (6,817 square miles) of Gulf waters around the wellhead. As
oil continued to spill from the wellhead, the area grew in size, peaking at
37 percent (88,522 square miles) of Gulf waters on June 2. To date, NOAA has
reopened more than 82,900 square miles of oil-impacted federal waters under
this protocol and sampling regime.

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