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Thursday
Nov252010

NOAA Closes Areas of the Gulf, Tar Balls Found on Sea Floor

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- For the first time in months, areas of the Gulf of Mexico have been closed due to oil.

The NOAA Wednesday closed over 4,200 square miles of gulf waters off of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama from royal red shrimping after fishermen trawling the Gulf floor discovered tarballs in their nets.

"The fishery is the only trawl fishery that operates at the deep depths where the tar balls were found and we have not received reports of any other gear or fishery interactions with tar balls," said Roy Crabtree, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service southeast region.  "Our primary concerns are public safety and ensuring the integrity of the Gulf’s seafood supply."

The action is only cautionary as tests are being conducted to determine if the tar is a product of the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill.

The same waters were reopened to commercial fishing on Nov. 15 after sensory and chemical testing had concluded that seafood in the area was safe.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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