NOAA: 90 percent of federal Gulf waters open again

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tuesday reopened to commercial and recreational fishing 2,927 square miles of Gulf waters off eastern Louisiana, directly south and southwest of East Bay.

This is the eighth reopening in federal waters since July 22 and about 90 percent of federal waters are now opened.

"Today's reopening is great news for fishermen and the seafood industry in Louisiana," U.S. commerce secretary Gary Locke said in a statement. "We look forward to reopening more federal waters, as this provides greater access to commercial and recreational activities and continues to build consumer confidence in Gulf seafood."

The total area reopened Tuesday is about 1 percent of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and 11 percent of the current closed area, as last modified on Oct. 1. No oil or sheen has been documented in the area since July 31. At its closest point, the area to be reopened is about 40 miles south of the Deepwater Horizon BP wellhead.

NOAA will continue to take samples for testing from the newly reopened area. The agency also will continue dockside sampling to test fish caught throughout the Gulf by commercial fishermen.

The remaining closed area covers 23,360 square miles, or about 10 percent of the federal waters in the Gulf.

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