News Releases

Closed shrimp-harvesting area in Escambia Co. reopens

News Release

Monday, August 16, 2010

Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will reopen state waters offshore of Escambia County to the harvest of shrimp at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 17.  The FWC had temporarily closed this area to the harvest of fish, shrimp and crabs on June 14 as a precautionary measure due to possible effects of oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The FWC reopened the area to the harvest of fish on July 31.

"Reopening these waters to shrimping is another positive step forward in Florida's recovery from the BP oil spill," said Nick Wiley, executive director of the FWC.  "It serves as a reminder that seafood caught in Florida waters is healthy and great to eat."

The FWC is reopening this 23-mile stretch of state waters to shrimp-harvesting because a careful laboratory analysis of shrimp collected there confirms they are oil-free and safe to eat.  The sampling and laboratory tests were conducted under the supervision of the United States Food and Drug Administration and NOAA, and the tested shrimp passed all standards for safe consumption.

The temporarily closed shrimping area, which included state waters from the beaches out 9 nautical miles into the Gulf from the Florida/Alabama border east to the Pensacola Beach water tower, has been closely monitored by state officials using aerial over-flights and visual observations on the water.  Oil has not been observed there for some time.

Oysters, clams and mussels were not included in the closure and have always remained open to harvest.  However, the area will remain closed to the harvest of crabs pending additional testing.

More information on the FWC's response to the BP oil spill is available online at MyFWC.com/OilSpill.



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