Closed fish-harvesting area in Escambia County reopens
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Media contact: Henry Cabbage, 850-528-1755
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) reopened state waters offshore of Escambia County
to the harvest of saltwater fish, at 12:01 a.m. today, July
31. The FWC had closed this area on June 14 as a
precautionary measure due to possible impacts of oil from the BP
Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"This is great news for all Floridians and
particularly our coastal communities, where fishing is such an
important component of their economy and way of life," said Nick
Wiley, executive director of the FWC. "Reopening these
Florida waters to fishing is a positive step forward in Florida's
recovery from the BP oil spill. We can all be confident that
fish caught in Florida waters are healthy and great to eat."
The FWC is reopening this 23-mile area of state
waters because careful laboratory analysis of fish from the area
confirms they are safe and oil-free. The sampling and
laboratory analyses were conducted under the supervision of the
United States Food and Drug Administration and NOAA. They
passed all standards for safe consumption. Oil has not been
observed in the closed area of state waters for some time and was
being closely monitored by state officials using aerial
over-flights and visual observations on the water.
The reopened area to the harvest of saltwater fish
includes state waters from the beaches out 9 nautical miles into
the Gulf from the Alabama line east to the Pensacola Beach water
tower. Oysters, clams and mussels were not included in the
closure and remain open to harvest in this area. The area
will remain closed to the harvest of shrimp and crabs, pending
More information on the FWC's response to the BP
oil spill is available online at MyFWC.com/OilSpill.