Safety thumbs up for Gulf seafood –

Safety thumbs up for Gulf seafood Published:  02 August, 2010

CONFIDENCE is at last returning to the fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico, badly hit by the oil spill this summer.

The state of Louisiana announced it is re-opening large areas of state fishing grounds that were closed in the wake of the BP rig disaster. The development has come after intensive testing of fish.

And BP’s chief operation officer Douglas Suttles said publicly that he would eat fish from the Gulf region, and happily serve it to his family as well. Mr Suttles took reporters on a boat tour of beaches and water around Louisiana.

Meanwhile, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said at the weekend: “Commercial fishing will reopen for finfish and shrimp in portions of state waters east of the Mississippi River.”

Other areas remain closed to Louisiana’s fishing and shrimping community, which has been devastated by the closure of state and federal waters fouled by crude spilling from a ruptured well off the state’s coastline.

The closures were ordered to prevent potentially oil-contaminated seafood being caught and served, but the state and the FDA said “extensive sensory testing and analytical chemistry results” showed “the fish samples tested from previously closed areas are safe for consumption.”

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the agency was “confident all appropriate steps have been taken to ensure that seafood harvested from the waters being opened today is safe.”She said fishermen in the area were impatient to get back to work, but “also a real commitment to protecting the health of their customers.”

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners in all of the Gulf states to reopen affected waters as quickly and safely as possible.”