June 14, 2010

Oil Forces Partial Fishing Closure in Escambia County

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in coordination with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Health, issued an executive order to temporarily close a portion of coastal state waters offshore of Escambia County to the harvest of saltwater fish, crabs and shrimp.

The closure includes state waters from the beaches out 9 nautical miles into the Gulf from the Alabama line east to the Pensacola Beach water tower. Interior bays and estuaries remain open to fishing. This area covers approximately 23 miles of Florida’s coastline in Escambia County, where oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill is now present.

Recreational catch-and-release fishing is still allowed as long as saltwater fish are not harvested or possessed in the closed area.

Oysters, clams and mussels are not included in the closure, because they are not expected to be affected by oil in the area. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services carefully monitors populations of these shellfish.

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