HUNTINGTON BEACH, California
California will reopen fishing along part of the south coast after banning activity for weeks following an oil spill at sea, it was announced Monday.
The state’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife said a ban on fishing for fish and shellfish would be lifted at 11:59 a.m. Tuesday and fishing could resume at noon.
The shutdown in early October covered 650 square miles (1,683 square kilometers) of coastal water and about 45 miles (72 kilometers) of shoreline, mostly in Orange County.
The move came after tests to ensure fish along the coast were safe for human consumption after the pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy leaked about 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters). of crude oil in early October.
The week-long shutdown dealt a blow to fishermen who said customers did not want to buy their catch fearing it might be contaminated and crushed charter operators who organize fishing trips off the coast of the sea. southern California coast. Some have joined the lawsuits against Amplify and say their biggest fear is that the stigma of the spill will keep tourists away even after the oily tar that washed up on the beaches is long gone.
Conservationists initially feared the worst when they learned of the spill on October 2, but it was smaller than expected. The Coast Guard said much of the kilometer-long oil plume appeared to shatter at sea, limiting the impact on sensitive wetlands and wildlife along the coast.
The beaches were closed about a week before reopening for surfing and swimming. Fishing took longer to resume as environmental health experts said fish in spill areas can ingest petroleum, which contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that can cause cancer in humans if consumed in certain quantities.
The spill was caused by a leak in Amplify’s pipeline that transported crude oil from three offshore platforms. The cause is under investigation, but federal officials said the pipeline was likely initially damaged by a ship’s anchor.