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Fishing ban lifted for 5,130 sq. miles of northern Gulf, but 43,000 sq. miles still closed

Federal authorities have lifted a fishing ban in part of the northern Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Panhandle to the far eastern coast of Louisiana.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said Thursday about 5,130 square miles of federal waters from Pensacola west through Alabama and Mississippi are open to fishing and shrimp harvesting.

NOAA also said shrimping could resume in federal waters east of Pensacola, which reopened to other fishing last month.

The area is considered low-risk for future exposure to oil. Seafood collected there has not shown any signs of contamination.

Roughly 43,000 square miles of federal waters remain closed, an area mostly off Louisiana and stretching into the open Gulf.

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Online:

NOAA Gulf closures: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/deepwater_horizon_oil_spill.htm

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