The Louisiana departments of Health and Hospitals, and Wildlife and Fisheries have announced the closure of recreational and commercial fishing activities and oyster harvesting near Marsh Island and in harvesting bed Area 28 due to confirmed reports of oil associated with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.The closure is effective sunset today, May 18, after LDWF staff documented oil on the Marsh Island beach, east of Southwest Pass.

Closures will remain in effect until officials have determined that environmental conditions are within the requirements specified by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. For a map detailing these closures, click here.

In addition, DHH scientists and engineers are conducting enhanced testing of oyster meat taken from the closed beds to monitor the presence of oil, called hydrocarbon testing. Additional testing is also being conducted in unaffected oyster beds. These tests will create a baseline, which will be used to ensure the safety of oysters once the incident clears in order to reopen beds. Oysters being harvested in open areas are considered safe.

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