Crewmembers of the Coast Guard conducting oil-skimming operations. (Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class C.White)
Gulf of Mexico no-fishing area expanded
Thursday, June 17, 2010, 23:10 (GMT + 9)
US authorities slightly increased the no-fishing area in the oil-sullied Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, to more than one-third of US federal waters there.
The area closed was 80,806 square miles (209,271 square kilometers), or about 33.4 per cent of the Gulf's federal waters, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported.
On June 7, a total of 32.3 per cent of Gulf federal waters were closed to fishing.
"Closing fishing in these areas is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers," NOAA said.
The closed area expanded northward to include waters off Panama City beach in northern Florida, NOAA said, noting that the federal closure does not apply to any US state waters.
Millions of gallons of oil have already flooded into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 people before sinking into the sea two days later. The spill has become the worst US environmental disaster in history.
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