Fishing Banned In Oil-Affected Portion Of Gulf Of Mexico

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a minimum ten-day ban on all recreational and commercial fishing in federal waters most affected by the BP oil spill, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay.

The closure is effective immediately, and both Louisiana and Mississippi have requested that the NOAA declare a federal fisheries disaster.

“NOAA scientists are on the ground in the area of the oil spill taking water and seafood samples in an effort to ensure the safety of the seafood and fishing activities,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator, who met with fishermen in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish on Friday.

Because of the potential economic impact of a prolonged closure on the local fishing industry, the NOAA restricted fishing only in those areas that are visibly affected by oil. Dr. Lubchenco also pointed out that there should be no health risk in seafood currently in the marketplace.

Unfortunately, visual cues may not be enough to determine how much of the Gulf’s seafood is contaminated by the spill.

Oil spills present the potential for enormous harm to deep ocean and coastal fishing and fisheries. The immediate effects of toxic and smothering oil waste may be mass mortality and contamination of fish and other food species, but long-term ecological effects may be worse.

Oil waste poisons the sensitive marine and coastal organic substrate, interrupting the food chain on which fish and sea creatures depend, and on which their reproductive success is based. Commercial fishing enterprises may be affected permanently (Water Encyclopedia).
Would you really want to snack on shrimp or fish that was caught from an area only a few miles outside the restricted zone?

The NOAA Fisheries division collaborates with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure seafood safety, and assess whether seafood is tainted or contaminated to levels that pose a risk to humans.

But the USDA’s idea of “safe levels” of contamination doesn’t always eliminate the risk of negative health effects.

Commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico harvested more than 1 billion pounds of finfish and shellfish in 2008. The area also boasts 3.2 million recreational fishermen who took 24 million fishing trips in 2008.

BP, the company responsible for the offshore oil rig now releasing hundreds of thousands of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, has offered to hire land-bound fishermen to help clean up the spill and deploy boom while the ban is in place.

Too bad they just couldn’t refrain from putting it there in the first place.

Find full Care2 Coverage of the Spill here.

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Please stay tuned to Care2 Causes for more information about the Gulf Spill as it develops.


Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - alex_lee2001

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54 comments

Bill K.
Bill K.5 years ago

How about instead of temporary closings we make the entire Gulf of Mexico a marine preserve. Surely the Gulf has suffered enough over the years from human exploitation and we need more ocean preserves anyway.

Alicia Nuszloch
Alicia N.5 years ago

longer, please.

Alicia Nuszloch
Alicia N.5 years ago

longer please.

Paritosh P.
Paritosh P.5 years ago

terrible ... people should be more responsible for the environment .. and not just making money :(

Paritosh P.
Paritosh P.5 years ago

yes.. fishing should be banned for a longer time

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado5 years ago

The fish might be contaminated by the oil spill.

johan l.
paul l.5 years ago

It would surprise me a great deal if anyone whatsoever, would even contemplate fishing there.
The sign should be completely superfluous!
It's like saying "don't drive on this road when it's wet!"

Pete C.
Pete C.5 years ago

has anyone actually drank their water, whoa!

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons5 years ago

Hey! Lets all go to the Beach! (NOT)
This is going to ruin one of my favorite beaches.

Daniel M.
Past Member 5 years ago

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