Fishing ban imposed in oil-affected Gulf of Mexico

May 2, 2010 by Allen Johnson
Oil containment booms are seen staged at the edge of Lake Pontchartrain near the Rigolets in New Orleans, Louisiana. Louisiana's 2.4-billion-dollar a year commercial and recreational fishing industry is dealt its first major blow from the oil spill as the US government bans activities for 10 days due to health concerns.

Louisiana's 2.4-billion-dollar a year commercial and recreational fishing industry is dealt its first major blow from the oil spill as the US government bans activities for 10 days due to health concerns.

"NOAA is restricting fishing for a minimum of ten days in federal waters most affected by the BP oil spill, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the to waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay. The closure is effective immediately," said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Louisiana accounts for an estimated one-third of the country's total oyster output, and the Gulf of Mexico are prime spawning waters for fish, shrimp and crabs, as well as a major stop for .

"NOAA scientists are on the ground in the area of the oil spill taking water and seafood samples in an effort to ensure the safety of the seafood and fishing activities," said NOAA administrator, Doctor Jane Lubchenco, quoted in the statement.

"I heard the concerns of the Plaquemines Parish fishermen as well other fishermen and state fishery managers about potential economic impacts of a closure," said Lubchenko, who met with more than 100 fishermen on Friday night.

"Balancing economic and health concerns, this order closes just those areas that are affected by oil. There should be no health risk in seafood currently in the marketplace."

George Barasich, president of the United Commercial Fishermen's Association, meanwhile Sunday filed an emergency request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against BP's contract for oil clean-up workers, which his lawyers said would allegedly preclude them from suing the oil giant

BP is hiring fishermen to help clean up from the spill and deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico.

The legal documents BP is asking the volunteers to sign would "seriously compromise" any spill-related legal claims against the oil giant, said Barasich's attorney Stuart Smith.

"That BP would attempt to force this one-sided and egregious agreement on volunteers in the midst of this environmental disaster shocks the conscience," Smith said in a press release.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said in the statement: "We stand with America's fisherman, their families and businesses in impacted coastal communities during this very challenging time.

"Fishing is vital to our economy and our quality of life and we will work tirelessly protect to it."

According to NOAA, 3.2 million recreational fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico took 24 million fishing trips in 2008 and commercial fishermen there harvested more than one billion pounds of finfish and shellfish in 2008.

"There are finfish, crabs, oysters and shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico near the area of the oil spill," said NOAA regional administrator Roy Crabtree. "The Gulf is such an important biologic and economic area in terms of seafood production and ."

NOAA said it was working with the state governors to evaluate the need to declare a fisheries disaster in order to unlock millions of dollars in federal aid to fishermen in these areas.

Louisiana and Mississippi have already requested that NOAA declare a federal fisheries disaster.

Explore further: NOAA tests for Gulf of Mexico contaminates

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not rated yet May 03, 2010
Somebody put an explosive collar just before the first leak and "pinch" it. It might not be perfect but it would greatly reduce the rate of leakage.
not rated yet May 03, 2010
I don't know much about oil wells, but could they not have installed some kind of fail-safe shut-off at the sea-bed... or was it considered "too expensive" to engineer. Perhaps someone familiar with the technology might comment.
5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2010
"Balancing economic and health concerns, this order closes just those areas that are affected by oil."

It's comforting to know that the Caribbean 'finfish' are aware of the problem and won't venture out from the contaminated area, nor venture in, either, so they can't venture out!
Way to Go!!
5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2010
The understanding is that you are not being told of the scale of this. Pressure on this massive well is somewhere in the 165,000 psi range. That the reserve is HUGE - and it may be darned near unstoppable.

The least likely outcome before it is capped -IF- it can be capped, is that the entire gulf of Mexico region will be permanently (human lifespan terms, specifically the economic cycle) SCREWED. This, in the biggest port area for the entire US. 50% of all US commercial traffic uses that port, IIRC?

The is an impending disaster that is coming down that road like an unstoppable freight train.

For those of you who have taken notice of what's really going on, this is like another full scale attempt on crashing the US economy and then that of the entire planet.

If they don't get a handle on that well in the next week or less, we are talking about an economic meltdown that is the final straw on that deliberately weakened camel's back. 'Order Through Chaos', is their motto. Casus Belli.
5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2010
According to the NOAA website, BP had been required to estimate the worst case scenario in a blowout situation for this well and oil field.

The well itself is capable of producing ~160,000 BARRELS of oil per day. The Oil field contains tens of millions of BARRELS of oil.

According to some experts cited on the NOAA page, there is some concern that the entire well may rupture eventually (remember there has been a catasrophic explosion and sinking of a massive rig right on top of the well).


As for the comment of "NameisnotNick":

The well was equipped with 3 different types of failsafes designed to protect against different types and sizes of failures, though it did lack one type of failsafe that many over-seas rigs have on their wells. In any case, ALL failsafes failed to function properly.

The well has far too much pressure for an ROV to manually turn a valve or pinch the pipe.

continues below
not rated yet May 03, 2010
The dome method that is about to be tried will likely not be very successful either, at least not directly on the well head. It may work on the other two leaks because those leaks aren't under pressure anyway, being no longer directly connected to the well itself.

The pressure on the well head will most likely push even a 75ton dome back out of the way, since you also have to figure for the buoyancy since oil is less dense than water.

The "5000 barrels per day" number is simply an estimate, which was admitted on the NOAA website that they really don't know how much oil is being spilled and at what rate. It is also mentioned that there are several plumes of oil below the surface which can't be measured or estimated. The estimates are just rough guesses based on the size, thickness, and continuity of the oil slicks visible on the surface.
not rated yet May 09, 2010
If only we could find something that would just make them ALL inedible for a few years and spill it everywhere.

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