Oil Spill Prompts Fishing Ban in Gulf

May 2, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with local fishermen about how they are affected by the BP oil spill after meeting with officials at Coast Guard Station Venice in Venice, LA., May 2.  (Saul Loeb/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with local fishermen about how they are affected by the BP oil spill after meeting with officials at Coast Guard Station Venice in Venice, LA., May 2. (Saul Loeb/Getty Images)
There will be no fishing in the oil spill-affected Gulf of Mexico for the next 10 days announced the federal government on Sunday. The temporary restriction applies to commercial and recreational fishing in the area ranging from Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay.

Realizing the financial losses this limit poses on local fishermen, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said, “Fishing is vital to our economy and our quality of life and we will work tirelessly to protect it." However seafood will need to undergo testing to make sure that if it is being processed for the market, it is free of contaminants.

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, explained the reasoning behind the closure: “Balancing economic and health concerns, this order closes just those areas that are affected by oil. There should be no health risk in seafood currently in the marketplace.”

BP is accepting claims from residents who were impacted by the spill and offering compensation to those who suffered property damage, loss of profits or income, or who lost access to natural resources.

In his Sunday address in Louisiana, President Obama highlighted that the Coast Guard and local governments are putting in their best efforts and that they have been ready for severe measures from day one. The President added, “We will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused.” The oil spill has reached to within nine miles off the southeastern coast of Louisiana.

Locke described a new approach to cap the pipelines as described by U.S. Coast Guard Comdt. Adm. Thad Allen in his brief on May 1. “The releasing of dispersants not on the surface, as has been done throughout the course of this, but instead releasing those dispersants near the source of the leak,” Allen said.

On Tuesday, May 4, major environmental groups and the Florida Coast Guard will meet to discuss the possible impacts and prevention of further spreading of the spill.