NEW ORLEANS – In order to promote accurate information about the safety of Gulf seafood from waters open to fishing, the Obama administration today announced the deployment of senior officials to the Gulf Coast to participate in a series of eight dockside “chats” in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Panhandle communities – in coordination with state governments – designed to engage fishers, shrimpers, oystermen and crabbers, as well as local officials in discussions about steps being taken to verify the safety of Gulf seafood.
The Obama administration is engaged in an aggressive, comprehensive, coordinated, multi-agency program to ensure the safety of Gulf seafood – working across federal agencies and with state and local officials, and the seafood industry, to closely monitor the effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its potential impact on seafood safety.
“Federal and state officials recognize the importance of ensuring that seafood caught from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to eat,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “We have worked diligently over the past several months to develop criteria that must be met and tests that must be successfully passed to make sure that seafood from open harvest waters is free from harmful oil residues. We hope these chats will answer any questions that fisherpersons may have so they can resume harvesting with confidence in the safety of their catch.”
“This administration continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with Gulf Coast fishers and their families during these challenging times,” said NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco. “We are committed to making sure that Gulf seafood is the safest in the world, and to reassuring consumers that Gulf seafood is safe to eat.”
“This administration’s extensive monitoring provides a wealth of information to our federal, state and local partners about water quality in the Gulf,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “EPA alone has collected more than 4,000 air, water, sediment and waste material samples since the beginning of the BP oil spill. We have an extraordinary range of up-to-date information to guide us in determining if there are any risks to human health.”
The team will visit dockside locations where fishers work to clearly address the issues of seafood safety and toxicity – answering questions, correcting misinformation, and providing details about the rigorous actions undertaken by the federal and state governments to ensure that Gulf seafood from areas that are open to fishing following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill is safe to eat.
The “chats” are being hosted and coordinated by local officials and fisherpersons on the ground in each community. Each of the participating state and federal agencies plays a vital role in the government-wide effort to manage fisheries, test and monitor seafood, regulate the seafood industry and test environmental factors related to seafood, such as water and air.
Each of the participating state and federal agencies plays a vital role in the government-wide effort to manage fisheries, test and monitor seafood, regulate the seafood industry and test environmental factors related to seafood, such as water and air.
Visit www.NOAA.gov or www.FDA.gov for more information about the federal government’s seafood sampling programs. Some frequently asked questions can be answered here. Call 1-888-INFO-FDA with questions or concerns about seafood or to report any seafood that you suspect of being contaminated.