Royal Red Shrimp Fishing
NOAA Closes Federal Waters to Royal Red Shrimp Fishing
November 24, 2010 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA) – Effective November 24, 2010 at 6 p.m. eastern time (5 p.m. central time), NOAA will close 4,213 square miles (10,911 sq km) of area to royal red shrimp fishing only. This area had previously opened to all commercial and recreational fishing, and fishing for finfish or penaeid shrimp species is still allowed.
On November 15, 2010, NOAA opened an 8,403 square mile (21,764 sq km) area previously closed to fishing due to the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This decision was based on analysis of 286 finfish samples for sensory analysis and 207 finfish samples in 33 composites for chemical analysis. NOAA also analyzed 55 shrimp samples (royal red and penaeid species) for sensory analysis and 50 shrimp samples in 9 composites for chemical analysis. Sensory testing showed no detectable oil or dispersant odors or flavors in the samples, and the results of chemical analysis were well below levels of concern for oil.
On Saturday, November 20, 2010, NOAA received a report from a fisherman who caught tarballs while trawling for royal red shrimp. NOAA is taking this report seriously and is testing samples of his catch. Additionally, vessels will be sent out as soon as possible to collect more samples. Royal red shrimp are caught in waters deeper than 100 fathoms and are the only species targeted with shrimp trawls at this depth.
NOAA’s primary concerns are public safety and ensuring the integrity of the Gulf’s seafood supply. So far, no one has reported any oil- or dispersant-tainted seafood entering the market. Fishermen or consumers who encounter what they believe to be tainted seafood should immediately call FDA at 1-888-INFO-FDA, or the Unified Command headquarters at 713-323-1670.