Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bay Area Shoreline Fishing Closure

Bay Area Shoreline Fishing Closure in Effect until Determined Safe to

Alameda, Calif. – The closure of the fishing and shellfish harvesting
in oil affected areas will continue until the Office of Environmental
Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and Department of Fish and Game (DFG)
determine it safe to reopen.

Closure areas include the Alameda County shoreline between the San
Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the San Mateo Bridge. In addition,
OEHHA advises that fishermen avoid fishing in areas where there is a
visible sheen.

"Protecting the public's health is our top priority," said OEHHA
Director Joan Denton. "It's a good idea to avoid any fish from the spill
area until further notice."

OEHHA is the science arm of the California Environmental Protection
Agency and is working with DFG, the Department of Public Health and
other agencies to assess impacts of the oil spill on the fisheries.

OEHHA's safety guidelines call for avoiding consumption of any fish or
shellfish from the spill area until analysis of the collected samples is
completed. Visible oil or oily smell are obvious indications of
contamination, but fish and shellfish from the spill area could still
pose a potential risk even if there are no visible signs of

Fish and shellfish caught from waters outside the spill area remain as
safe to eat as before the spill, but marine life from the spill area
should be avoided until the evaluation of its safety is completed. In
addition, health officials are asking people to stay away from shore
areas until cleanup efforts are completed.

OEHHA has issued the following safety advice for beaches in the spill
area: Avoid direct contact with spilled oil, which can cause skin
irritation. Prolonged contact can cause rashes. If you get oil or tar on
your skin, wash it off with soap and water, and be certain to wash your
hands before eating.

If you get oil on your clothing, wash it in the usual way. There is no
need to use harsh detergents, solvents or other chemicals to wash oil
from skin or clothing.

Do not burn driftwood or other debris that may be contaminated with
oil. Use common sense. Do not swim in water with an oil slick and do not
swallow water from the area. Oil-contaminated water can cause choking
and lead to severe pneumonia if it gets into the lungs.

There is no risk of adverse health effects from breathing air near
spilled oil unless there is prolonged exposure to fumes.

Sam Delson, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, (916)
Carol Singleton, Department of Fish and Game, (916) 539-6124
U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs, (415) 748-0112

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