Restrictions were imposed Sunday by the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration banning recreational and commercial fishing in an estimated 6,817 square mile area of Pensacola. At present, the ban is intended to be in effect for at least 10 days.
The area restricted is understood to be located 20 to 30 miles off Pensacola shores. According to Paul Redman, president of the Pensacola Charter Boat Association, the impact of this ban will be felt for a long, long time, as reported by the Pensacola News Journal. Paul Redman also stated, “that’s it for our Disney World.”
The spill is now a little more than one hundred miles off the coastline of Pensacola Beach. Reports late Saturday indicated that the spill could reach area shorelines by Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
The fishing ban was imposed by the O&A Administration because of the uncertainty as to whether area fish will be safe for consumption. According to Roy Crabtree, Southeast Regional Administrator for NQAA Fisheries, in the Pensacola News Journal, the ban was imposed as a precautionary measure.
The economical impact from the spill is now being realized. Gulf area charter fishermen are just beginning to feel the impact. With this present fishing ban being imposed, a 15 year veteran of charter fishing Paul Redman stated on Saturday, “It’s going to collapse our local economy for sure.”
Redman also stated, “everything will have to be studied to a point where who knows when we will be allowed to fish again. I think we are for a bad, bad, time as soon as the wind changes.”
Another fisherman, Jerry Andrews, has canceled four fishing trips as a result of the oil spill. Andrews said to the Pensacola News Journal he is waiting for a miracle. According to experts, its almost impossible to protect the beach from damage of an oil spill. Booms are being placed around the area shores in an attempt to protect all environmentally sensitive areas.
Short of a miracle, the impact to be felt from the oil spill in this area will be one never felt before. Our area white sands if not ever before in jeopardy are now definitely in jeopardy of never being described as ‘sparkling white’ again. The vast amount of freshwater fish, shrimp, crawfish and other area delicacies may well be a thing of the past.
Often Pensacola has tourist visiting the area for the sole purpose of gathering their yearly supply of seafood. Joe Patti’s Seafood, the areas most popular seafood supplier, saw an onslaught of shoppers this past weekend. Shoppers from areas such as Chicago, New York even those as close as Atlanta, visit the area to shop for seafood. Where will these visitors travel if the oil threat damages the area waterways to the point fish or seafood in this area is no longer safe for human consumption?
Fishing Ban Imposed
Pensacola News Journal