Gulf oil spill leads to shrimp seizure

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Oil spill shrimpAs part of an ongoing effort to protect consumers from potentially tainted seafood, the U.S. Coast Guard has seized about 19,000 pounds of shrimp from a commercial vessel fishing in the restricted waters around the Gulf oil spill.

The enforcement action comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a step-up in Gulf of Mexico seafood inspections to ensure food safety following the massive BP oil spill. To date, about 33% of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico is closed to fishing -- a mind-boggling 80,806 square miles -- that's an area larger than the state of Nebraska.

Working off a tip, the Coast Guard intercepted F/V Little Andrew 13 miles south of Belle Pass, La. and found the shrimp on the 85-foot boat and dumped it overboard. The boat's master was given a written warning. Coast Guard vessel registration lists the boat's owner as Little Andrew Inc. of Panama City, Fla., which does not have a listed contact number.

NOAA is conducting ongoing seafood testing and working with food processors. The FDA also is targeting oysters, crab and shrimp for additional testing because the shellfish retain contaminants longer than fish. At the docks, NOAA will verify that fish are caught outside of the closed area by using the data from vessel monitoring systems that track a boat's location.
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