After last month's Deepwater Horizon oil spill began rising to the surface many beaches have been closing or strongly emphasize to the public to swim at their own risk.
Affected coastal areas, as well as areas of uncertainty, have been closed to fishing by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in portions of Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and Terrebonne parishes, according to the Louisiana Office of Tourism.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Beach Monitoring Program put out advisories on beaches in Louisiana. The advisories warn that beach water quality does not meet the water quality criteria established for Louisiana's Beach Program. Swimming or other activities that may result in water ingestion may pose an increased risk of illness, particularly for susceptible individuals. As a result, Grand Isle closed its public beach.
But, all nine costal parishes are still offering travelers historic and cultural attractions, world-acclaimed indigenous food and music, and notable restaurants and overnight accommodations, according to the state’s Office of Tourism.
Most beaches are open, but swimming along the Gulf Coast is discouraged, after the Alabama Department of Public Health issued a swimming advisory for waters off Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, tourism websites report.
The swimming advisory means swimming is discouraged in gulf waters or in bay waters immediately adjacent to Fort Morgan, but the beaches are open and visitors are welcome to sunbathe and walk the beach.
According to NOAA, tarballs DO NOT pose a health risk to the average person. However, beachgoers are advised not to pick them up or bury them and asked to report any sightings
NOAA's current closed fishing area includes federal waters eastward to Panama City, Florida
The Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources has closed state gulf waters and some inshore waters
The pier at Gulf State Park is closed for fishing. However, the pier is still open to sightseers.
Oil has been discovered reaching into Perdido Pass, but skimming vessels are at work to contain and remove it, the Gulf Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau reported.
All Florida beaches are open, but tar balls have been washing up around Pensacola and other areas on the western side of the state, the Miami Herald reports.
Beachgoers in Florida's western Panhandle saw the first warning signs late Tuesday telling them not to swim or fish off of a six-mile stretch of the oil-fouled Gulf of Mexico near the Alabama and Florida state line.
The Escambia County Health Department posted the signs after heavier tar balls and a mousse-like tar substance were reported off Perdido Key, Fla. The warnings stretch from Perdido Key to the Gulf Islands Seashore national park.
It is the first time swimming and fishing has been restricted on any Florida beaches because of the massive spill that began with the April 20 rig blowout 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. Tar balls began rolling up on Escambia County beaches from Perdido Key through Pensacola Beach early Friday.
The county warned people not to wade or swim in the water and to avoid any skin contact with oily water or dead sea animals. The health advisory also states that people should not fish in the water or eat fish that have a petroleum odor
Beaches in Mississippi are still open.
The oil spill spared the state’s coast, but the state's economy is still feeling an impact.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has said on “Fox News Sunday” that his state is not as bad off as their neighbors, adding, “we have had virtually no oil” wash up on the state’s coast.
Governor Haley Barbour emphasized that oil has only hit Mississippi's barrier islands.
"In the 50 or so days, except for some random tar balls, some of which came from this well, some of which didn't, we've had one significant intrusion from the well," said Governor Haley Barbour, according to WLBT.com.