orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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July 3, 2013

Tar mats prompt La to close small area off island

NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has closed an area off East Grand Terre Island to all but recreational rod and reel fishing because tar mats were removed from the area.

BP PLC says the closing appears groundless and began well after the mats were found and removed.

Department Secretary Robert Barham says the closure covers water within a half-mile of the island's southern shore. All commercial fishing is forbidden there. So are most kinds of recreational fishing. Charter tours using rod and reel are permitted.

BP says in a news release that all fish tested from Gulf Coast states since 2010 have been within federal health limits. It says the tar mats were found May 6 and removed by June 18 — 10 days before the closure.

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