Fishing Closed in Florida Panhandle Due to BP Oil Spill

Fishing Closed in Florida Panhandle Due to BP Oil Spill
Fifty-five days after the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the spreading oil slick has finally had a direct impact on Florida's fishing.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) along with other state agencies have issued an executive order to temporarily close a portion of coastal state waters offshore Escambia County to the harvest of saltwater fish, crabs and shrimp.  The closure takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, June 14.The closure includes state water along approximately 23 miles of Florida coastline out to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf from the Alabama state line east to the Pensacola Beach water tower.  Recreational catch and release fishing is still allowed in the closed area and interior bays and estuaries remain open to fish and shellfish harvest.The FWC is implementing the closure as a precautionary measure to prevent the harvest and consumption of marine species that may be affected by the oil.  The closure shall remain in effect until the closure area is free of visible oil and testing confirms the water and marine life are once again safe."The oil spill in the Gulf is still far from most of Florida's vast coastlines, and while the FWC continues to carefully track oil spill developments and prepare for possible impacts, Florida's abundant saltwater fisheries remain in good health and the fish you buy in a commercial outlet or restaurant are safe and wholesome to eat," said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto.  "The FWC encourages residents and visitors to go fishing in Florida and to enjoy fresh Florida seafood."For more information visit the FWC website at://
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