Feds reopen shrimping grounds in Gulf of Mexico

By The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A 4,200-square-mile area of the Gulf of Mexico near BP’s blown out well will reopen to deep water shrimping after federal scientists found the fishing grounds free of oil.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it will reopen the area in federal waters off Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Wednesday.

The fishing grounds were initially closed after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion but had reopened. They were closed again on Nov. 24 to royal red shrimping after a commercial shrimper found tar balls in his net.

Tests to determine whether the material came from BP PLC’s well were inconclusive. Royal red shrimp are caught in waters deeper than 600 feet.

NOAA says recent testing shows no oil or dispersant contamination in the area.