NEW ORLEANS – Nearly 6,900 square miles of Gulf waters south of the Florida Panhandle have reopened to commercial and recreational fishing after the end of the oil spill crisis offshore.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the reopening Friday of those Gulf of Mexico waters — 29 percent of those that had remained closed.
NOAA says scientists reported the last oil sheen in that area in mid-July and found fish from those waters testing clean of oil and safe to eat.
The area is about 220 miles south of the Florida Panhandle and about 130 miles southeast of the now-capped well.
A maximum of some 88,500 square miles of federal waters were closed to recreational and commercial fishing in June. About 16,500 square miles remain closed.