Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NEWS RELEASE: Safety Of Florida Seafood Emphasized

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 3, 2010

DO NOT REPLY DIRECTLY TO THIS EMAIL.
DIRECT ALL INQUIRIES TO:
Liz Compton
mailto:comptol@doacs.state.fl.us
(850) 488-3022

Terence McElroy
mailto:mcelrot@doacs.state.fl.us


BRONSON EMPHASIZES SAFETY OF FLORIDA SEAFOOD

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner
Charles H. Bronson today said that seafood currently being harvested in
Florida is safe and has not been impacted by the oil spill in the gulf.
He is concerned that misinformation about the conditions in the gulf
waters may unnecessarily impact the state's seafood industry.

While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is
restricting commercial and recreational fishing in federal waters from
Louisiana to waters off Pensacola Bay, the ban does not yet impact waters
extended out 25 miles from Escambia County. Currently, all species
harvested from the closure line to shore -- including grouper, snapper,
golden tilefish, mullet, blue crab, oysters, flounder, sea trout and
shrimp -- are safe to eat. Stone crab season is in effect until May 15
and is also unaffected by the ban. Federal agencies and the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection are conducting ongoing tests of
water samples and have not found any hydrocarbons in samples taken from
Florida.

In addition, Bronson's Division of Aquaculture is monitoring oysters to
assure their safety, and NOAA is working closely with the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration and food safety officials in the gulf states to
assure that no unsafe seafood products are sent to markets.

"Our shrimp, shellfish and other seafood being harvested right now are
fine, and I don't want people watching reports of the oil spill to think
differently," Bronson said. "If and when Florida waters are impacted by
the spill, we will take immediate action to close the waters to
commercial and recreational harvesting."

In 2008, the latest figures available, the quantity of seafood sold at
the dock just on the west coast surpassed 66 million pounds with a value
of about $125 million. This is the price paid to the fishermen for their
catch, not the retail or wholesale value.

In response to the Deepwater Horizon Incident in the Gulf of Mexico,
Bronson's Division of Aquaculture is actively evaluating the latest
reports from the official clearinghouse of information at
http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com and evaluating predictions of
spill movement, weather patterns and projected landfall points.


-30-


DO NOT REPLY DIRECTLY TO THIS EMAIL.
DIRECT ALL INQUIRIES TO:
Liz Compton
mailto:comptol@doacs.state.fl.us
(850) 488-3022

Terence McElroy
mailto:mcelrot@doacs.state.fl.us

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