No fishing zone expanded in the Gulf of Mexico - - Jackson, MS

No fishing zone expanded in the Gulf of Mexico

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By  Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Federal officials have expanded the no fishing zone because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has enlarged that restricted area about 50% from the southwest pass of the Mississippi River to south of Pensacola, Florida.

It is now closed through May 17th to fisherman who are anxious to get back in their boats.  If you want fresh gulf shrimp, talk to Roland Ford at the corner of Old Canton and Pear Orchard Roads in Jackson.  Recently the massive oil spill in the gulf has kept this Gulfport native stuck on dry land.

"I usually self catch my own shrimp, but now we got to buy off deep water boats that are going around Port Arthur, Texas," said Ford.

Along with the fisherman, customers are also feeling the effects.

"It does raise the cost of shrimp because all the cost involved in it.  Fuel prices on the boats to go out and fuel prices to get it to us," said Ford.

The New Orleans Fish House in south Jackson is keeping busy with huge orders.  They outsource to hundreds of restaurants in Mississippi who are buying shrimp three months ahead.

"The restaurants are panicking a little bit.  Of course, I've seen it over here in the retail part of the last three days.  People have just been swarming in here," said New Orleans Fish House General Manager David Saxton.

He does not seem too worried and said if the oil starts making its way west there would be a bigger problem.

"Seventy three percent of our seafood production comes from the mouth of the Mississippi west, so it's not going to be that affected," said Saxton.

The new expanded non-fishing area only represents less than 4.5% of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

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