Fishing advisory issued for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties
Friday, June 04, 2010
Media contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) advises anglers and boaters in Escambia, Santa
Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties in Northwest Florida that oil
from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill could soon reach coastal
waters of these counties. Oil spill trajectory projections
formulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) indicate that these areas could experience some amount of
oiling in the next 72 hours, but these projections carry a degree
In addition to the NOAA projections, the FWC is
conducting airborne and waterborne surveillance to definitively
establish the presence and extent of oil, to guide management
actions. In the interim, the FWC cautions people to avoid any oil
they might encounter on the water while fishing or boating.
The FWC, along with partnering agencies and fishery
stakeholders, is keeping a close watch on coastal waters in
Northwest Florida and is prepared to prohibit the harvest of fish
if oil has contaminated the water to the point where it is not safe
to consume fish. The FWC will decide whether to close a specific
area to the harvest of fish based on a visual assessment that
confirms a significant amount of oil on the surface of the
If a closure is necessary, it will be as small as
possible and would prohibit all commercial and recreational harvest
and possession of fish within clear and describable boundaries.
Catch-and-release fishing would still be allowed in a closed
Closed harvesting areas will reopen as soon as
possible, but only after an official determination is made that the
consumption of fish from those waters is safe. Any consideration of
shellfish closures would be coordinated closely with the Florida
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
It is also important to note that oil has not
affected most of Florida, and there are still vast areas open to
fishing and other recreational opportunities. The FWC encourages
everyone to go fishing where the waters are clear and to enjoy
freshly harvested Florida seafood products.
Updated information regarding fishing advisories or
harvest closures in Florida due to the BP oil spill will be posted
online at MyFWC.com/OilSpill.