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Headlines from the Gulf

November 18, 2010
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Red Snapper Closure

The recreational fishing season for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico will close at 12:01 a.m., local time, Monday, November 22, 2010.  This closure ends the temporary eight-weekend opening that began on October 1, instituted because the Gulf recreational quota had not been caught due to total fishing closures in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The 2011 red snapper season will open on June 1.  For more information: sero.nmfs.noaa.gov

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Reopened Gulf Waters

On November 15 NOAA reopened 8,403 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico that has been closed to fishing since the beginning of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The area that remains closed is the 1,041 sq mi in immediate proximity to the wellhead. All commercial and recreational fishing including catch and release is prohibited in this area.

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No oil or sheen has been documented in the reopened area since August 5. NOAA analyzed 286 finfish samples for sensory analysis (the “sniff test”) and 207 finfish samples by chemical analysis, which included samples of swordfish, tuna, and mahi mahi. NOAA also sniff tested 55 shrimp samples and chemically analyzed 50 shrimp samples. Sensory testing showed no detectable oil or dispersant odors or flavors in the samples, and the results of chemical analysis were well below levels of concern for oil.

While most of the Gulf is now open to fishing, NOAA Fisheries Service advises anglers to avoid fishing manywhere they encounter oil or oil sheen in the water

For more information:  sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/deepwater_horizon_oil_spill.htm

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