In response to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government closed off vast areas of the ocean to fishing operations. Much of the area was closed off as a precaution, even if it was minimally touched by the spreading oil, to avoid a public health disaster from contaminated seafood. The good news is that about one-third of that closed off area has just been reopened by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In the 26,388 square miles to be reopened, no oil has been observed for the past thirty days.
According to agreed-upon protocol, this decision was made after consulting with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Gulf states to determine public health concerns. The conclusion was that the water is sufficiently clean and the fish are safe to eat.
The US Coast Guard has been doing fly-overs for the past thirty days and have seen no traces of oil in the reopened area. Scientific models also show the trajectory of the existing oil contamination moving away from the area. Plus, NOAA has caught fish from the area and tested them. The results showed no sign of contamination.
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