It’s been over 45 days since the explosion of the Deepwater Oil rig that caused a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As cleanup efforts continue, there is still oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico and up onto the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Florida has only reported a few tar balls washing ashore and has not been heavily affected as of this writing.
Here are some updates on the conditions in the coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico that may affect your travel and/or vacation plans.
The beach at Grand Isle, Louisiana was the first beach to close. It remains closed as the problem of oil reaching the shore is an on-going battle in Louisiana since the oil spill is less than 50 miles off the coast of the state. Fishing has also been banned in the area that covers a 61,864 square mile area for both commercial and recreational fishing.
Mississippi’s governor, Haley Barbour, reports that the beaches are fine in Mississippi. However fishing has been banned from Gulfport, MS to Gulf Shores, AL.
Some oiling onshore has been reported at Perdido Key by the National Park Service. The park remains open but a health advisory has been issued for beaches from the Alabama-Florida state line to Perdido Key. Swimming and fishing in the above areas are not advised at this time. Another words it is swim and/or fish at your own risk.
Several clean up operations have taken place in Florida at Perdido Key, Fort Pickens and Navarre Beach where tar balls have been picked up along the coast. The Florida Visitor’s Bureau has issued a warning to residents and tourists to not pick up the tar balls due to possible health effects to those with compromised immune systems.
Beaches at Destin, Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach remain open. Visitors and tourists are welcome!
Although the beaches remain open at Gulf Shores, AL and Orange Beach, AL, the Alabama Department of Public Health has issued an advisory against swimming in the Gulf waters. This includes the entire coastline in Alabama.
The pier at the Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, AL is now closed to fishing. Perdido Pass is also closed to recreational boats during the incoming tide.
I hope this guide helps you in your travel plans for the gulf beaches along the Gulf Coast. The BP oil spill is massive and is causing a lot of damage to barrier islands in Louisiana, the hardest hit state of the spill. Conditions change daily as many things affect the directions in which the oil will go.