Oil Spill Update: May 31st


Offshore Surface Oil Trajectory Map: Jump down to Current Trajectory Maps on this page for full-sized versions.

Fishery closure update (effective May 31)

  • NOAA Fisheries Service has updated its Fishery closure area in the Gulf of Mexico, effective 6 p.m. Eastern Time, May 31, 2010. Approximately 74 percent of the Gulf remains open for fishing.

Marine mammals and turtles (effective May 30):

Sea Turtles

  • The total number of sea turtles verified from April 30 to May 30 within the designated spill area is 244. The 244 turtles verified include four turtles collected alive with visible external evidence of oil and one dead stranded turtle with visible external evidence of oil. All others have not had visible evidence of external oil. ??Three of the live collected turtles with visible evidence of oil were captured during dedicated on-water surveys: two small Kemp's Ridley and a larger sub-adult Loggerhead turtle. The fourth oiled turtle was collected alive by the US Coast Guard. One of the turtles that stranded dead - a Kemp's ridley - had visible evidence of external oil. A total of 227 turtles stranded dead. A total of 14 stranded alive.
  • Three of those subsequently died and one of the live stranded turtles -caught in marine debris -- was disentangled and released. There are 13 turtles in rehabilitation (includes three captured during dedicated on-water surveys). Turtle strandings during this time period have been higher in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama than in previous years for this same time period. This may be due in part to increased detection and reporting, but this does not fully account for the increase.


  • From April 30 to May 30, there have been 29 dead dolphins verified within the designated spill area. So far, one of the 29 dolphins had evidence of external oil. Because it was found on an oiled beach, we are unable at this time to determine whether the animal was covered in oil prior to its death or after its death. The other 28 dolphins have had no visible evidence of external oil. Since April 30, the stranding rate for dolphins in Louisiana has been higher than the historic numbers for the same time period in previous years. This may be due to increased detection and reporting and the lingering effects of the earlier observed spike in strandings.
  • Strandings are defined as dead or debilitated animals that wash ashore

NOAA Facilities in the Gulf:

  • NOAA Fisheries Regional Office in St. Petersburg, F.
  • National Marine Sanctuaries: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Galveston, TX; Florida Keys National Marine Sancturary, Key West, FL
  • National Estuarine Research Reserves: Mission-Aransas Reserve, TX; Grand Bay, MS.; Weeks Bay, AL.; Rookery Bay, FL
  • Field offices of the Science Center in Galveston, Texas and Pascagoula, MS
  • Seafood Laboratory in Pascagoula
  • Science Center in Panama City, FL
  • Texas - 13 Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) and the southern regional office in Fort Worth
  • Louisiana - 4 WFOs
  • Mississippi - 4 WFOs
  • Alabama - 4 WFOs
  • Florida (West Coast to Key West) - 4 WFOs (additional 3 WFOs in East coast FL and National Hurricane Center in Miami)
  • NMFS & NOS offices in Layfette, La.
  • NMFS regional office in Baton Rouge, La.
  • National Coastal Data Development Center, National Data Buoy Center - Stennis, MS


  • Two NOAA communications personnel are detailed to the federal Joint Information Center in Robert, La., one communications staffer at the JIC in Mobile, Ala.

Important Contacts

  • For NOAA media inquiries, please contact Ben Sherman, John Ewald or Rachel Wilhelm or phone 301.713.3066.
  • To offer suggestions to clean, contain, recover or stop the flow of oil visit Deepwater Horizon Response Suggestions. This website also provides procedures and forms for Alternative Response Tool Evaluation System (ARTES) proposals.
  • For response-related inquiries, please phone the Joint Information Center (JIC) at 985.902.5231 or 985.902.5240.
  • To report oil on land, or for general community information, please phone 866.448.5816.
  • To report oiled or injured wildlife, please phone 866.557.1401.
  • To learn about volunteer opportunities in all areas and what training is required, please phone 866.448.5816.
  • To discuss spill related damage claims, please phone 800.440.0858.
  • BP is asking fishermen for their assistance in cleaning up the oil spill. BP is calling this the Vessel of Opportunities Program and through it, BP is looking to contract shrimp boats, oyster boats and other vessels for hire to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. To learn more about the Vessel of Opportunity Program, fishermen should phone 281.366.5511.

More Information about this Incident

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