Alabama state waters scheduled to be fully reopened to recreational fishing


The remainder of Alabama state waters, including north of the Fort Morgan Peninsula, 3 miles into the Gulf of Mexico and Pelican Bay, will reopen to recreational catch-and-keep fishing at 6 a.m. on Monday.

The area north of the peninsula will also be open to commercial shrimping, while the state’s offshore waters and those in Pelican Bay will remain closed to shrimping until adequate numbers of shrimp can be provided for testing, said Maj. Chris Blankenship of the Marine Resources Division.

“We’re glad to be able to open these Gulf waters especially so people can get back to doing what they enjoy,” Blankenship said.

Some commercial fishermen and seafood processors and dealers have said Gulf states have been to eager to reopen their waters because oil from the Deepwater Horizon well continues to sporadically show up.

They also worry that should tainted seafood from the Gulf make it onto the market anywhere, it could damage the industry beyond the impacts it’s already endured because of the oil spill.

While Blankenship acknowledged the validity of those concerns and understands them, he also said the rigorous testing standards Alabama and the rest of the states have had to meet make him believe the Gulf’s seafood is safe to eat.

“We worked hard to get a good cross section of fish to test to increase our confidence level,” he said. “With so many types of fish and the results we received, we feel confident those areas are safe to resume fishing.”

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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