Yesterday 5,000 square miles of Gulf Coast waters were reopened for commercial and recreational fishing. The area (shown as the shaded area on the map below) stretches roughly from Pensacola to Cape San Blas, east of Panama City.
Map credit: NOAA
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced the decision after NOAA data and Coast Guard flyovers of the waters in question showed no oil in the area. "Fish caught in the area and tested by NOAA experts have shown no signs of contamination," the NOAA said in a website statement.
The NOAA reports that it will continue testing fish from the newly reopened area and will do dockside testing of fish caught by commercial fishermen.
This leaves about 22 percent of the federal Gulf waters still closed for fishing (down from 37 percent). If you'd like to be notified of changes to the status of fishing areas, here are a few ways to get updates:
- Sign up for email bulletins at SERO.Communications.Comments@noaa.gov
- Call 1-800-627-NOAA to hear a recording
- Get text updates by texting fishing@gulf to 84469
- Get Twitter updates @usnoaagov