The Louisiana Department of Health announced today the reopening of oyster harvesting areas 1, 4 and 6 after working with a specialist with the federal Food and Drug Administration and determining there was no oil intrusion.
These harvest areas are east of the Mississippi River. Area 1 is in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, Area 4 is in St. Bernard parish, and Area 6 is in Plaquemines parish. They were all closed as a precaution in anticipation of possible oil intrusion. Areas 4 and 6 were originally closed on April 30, and Area 1 was originally closed on July 7.
In addition to continued lab testing being conducted by the state, oyster harvesters "taste test" the oysters as they are pulled from the water to make sure their product is not contaminated.
LDH Secretary Alan Levine and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the order today to reopen Areas 1, 4 and 6, which will take effect a half an hour before sunrise Saturday, July 31.
In addition to regular testing schedules, LDH sanitarians are conducting enhanced testing of oyster meat taken from the closed beds to monitor the presence of oil. Oysters being harvested in areas open for harvesting have been deemed safe by DHH.
Areas 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 23 remain closed. In addition, areas 9, 10, 17, 19 and 21 remain partially closed. All other areas are open.
The public is encouraged to call a toll-free hotline, 1-800-256-2775, to report the presence of oil or an oil sheen.
For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.