NOAA expands Gulf fishing ban

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has extended the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to match the Louisiana state waters closure west of the current boundaries, and to incorporate an area reportedly with oil in the southwest.

The closed area now represents 54,096 square miles, slightly more than 22 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters.

"The federal and state governments have systems in place to test and monitor seafood safety, prohibit harvesting from affected areas and keep oiled products out of the marketplace," NOAA said in a statement. "NOAA continues to work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the states to ensure seafood safety by closing fishing areas where tainted seafood could potentially be caught, and assessing whether seafood is tainted or contaminated to levels that pose a risk to human health."

NOAA and the Food and Drug Administration are working to implement a broad-scaled seafood sampling plan. The plan includes sampling seafood from inside and outside the closure area, as well as dockside- and market-based sampling.

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