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Commercial fishing resumes in some Louisiana parishes

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Louisiana reopens commercial fishing in several areas closed by the BP spill
  • FDA tests find fish safe for consumption, state agency says
  • Order does not affect harvest of crab and oysters

(CNN) -- Several commercial fishing areas that were closed because of the BP oil spill had an "emergency reopening" Saturday, Louisiana officials said.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said it coordinated the move with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Commercial fishing reopened for finfish and shrimp in portions of state waters in Lafourche, Terrebonne, Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes, the department said in a statement.

Adjustments also were made to the areas closed to recreational fishing west of Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River. Those areas closed to commercial fishing now match the areas closed to recreational fishing, the agency said.

Comprehensive FDA tests of seafood samples from previously closed areas showed fish are safe for consumption, according to the statement.

Saturday's openings do not include the commercial harvest of crabs and oysters. The FDA testing method for crabs takes significantly longer to process, officials said.

Some of the environmental damage to the Gulf of Mexico since the April 20 rig explosion and subsequent spill appears to have abated in recent weeks.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reopened 5,144 square miles of Gulf waters on Tuesday for commercial and recreational fishers to catch finfish, saying that since July 3 its data have shown no oil in the area.

Coast Guard observers flying over the area in the past 30 days also have not observed any oil. In addition, NOAA said fish caught in the area and tested by NOAA experts have shown no signs of contamination.