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Gulf oil spill: Wide swath of fisheries reopened in Louisiana

July 29, 2010 | 10:00 pm

Map: Blue areas indicate where commercial finfishing and shrimping has reopened in Louisiana state waters; purple areas indicate areas that remain closed. A ban remains on fishing for crab and oysters. Credit: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Louisiana fisheries officials reopened wide swaths of state coastal waters to commercial fishing late Thursday, permitting fishermen to catch finfish and shrimp off most of the eastern and southwestern coasts.

Commercial harvests of crabs and oysters are still banned.

State waters off southern Louisiana -- essentially south of the Mississippi River delta, including Barataria and Terrebonne bays -- remain closed, as beaches and marshes have continued to see oil wash up on those shores and into sensitive habitats.

Part of the Chandeleur Sound, near the Louisiana-Mississippi border, also remains closed to commercial fishermen.

The decision was made in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after extensive government tests, both by chemical analysis and human sniffing.  

A decision on reopening fishing for crabs was postponed because FDA testing for those crustaceans take longer to process. Maps on open and closed areas can be found on the website of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

No new oil has flowed into the Gulf of Mexico since a sealing cap was installed over the failed well 50 miles off Louisiana. As early as Sunday evening, BP will take the first step in a weeks-long process to shut the well for good.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II in Kenner, La.

Map: Blue areas indicate where commercial finfishing and shrimping has reopened in Louisiana state waters; purple areas indicate areas that remain closed. A ban remains on fishing for crab and oysters. Credit: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

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