NOAA reopens stretch of Gulf coast fishing area

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NOAA has opened 339 square miles of previously closed fishing area off the Florida Panhandle - the northern boundary now ends at the Florida federal-state water line on the east side of Choctawhatchee Bay.

This area was initially closed June 5 as a precaution because oil was projected to be within the area in the next 48 hours. However, the review of satellite imagery, radar and aerial data indicated that oil had not moved into the area.

The federal closed area does not apply to any state waters. Closing fishing in these areas is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers.

The closed area now represents 78,264 square miles, which is approximately 32 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. This leaves approximately 68 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing.

Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/. The last closed area modification was June 5, when 78,603 square miles were closed to fishing, or roughly 33 percent of federal waters of the Gulf.