Due to the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill, also known as the BP Oil Spill, parts of the Gulf of Mexico is closed for both commercial and recreational fishing.
The latest update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States agency responsible for handling the closure, arrived on June 7 and became effective 6 p.m. eastern time on the same day. According to this update, the prohibited area now measures 78,264 sq mi (202,703 sq km), or about 32% of the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone.
As stated above, all commercial and recreational fishing is banned in the area, including catch and release. It is however still legal to transit through the area.
Since it is impossible to know the exact extent of the oil spill at any given time, NOAA has advised fishermen to refrain from fishing if they notice any oil or oil sheen, even if it is outside the prohibited zone.
For those who wish to receive information as soon as the prohibited zone is modified, there are several channels to utilize:
– Get bullentins to your inbox by sending an e-mail to SERO.Communications.Comments@noaa.gov
– Get SMS notifications. Sign up by texting fishing@gulf to 84469.
– Follow NOAA on Twitter: usnoaagov
– Listen to NOAA weather radio