Waters now safe, fishing to resume

Fishing can resume immediately in San Francisco Bay and surrounding waters, the California Department of Fish and Game announced today. Testing of more than 1,000 fish and shellfish revealed that local seafood, excluding mussels from certain areas, is safe for consumption and was mostly unaffected by the Nov. 7 Cosco Busan oil spill.

Fish samples were measured for a carcinogenic contaminant known as PAH, state officials announced. Fish in waters unaffected by the spill were also tested for comparison.

Mussels fetched from Berkeley Pier and Rodeo Beach waters revealed contamination, but mussels are filter fish and thus retain contaminants, Fish and Game interim director John McCamman said.

The mussels are unsafe for consumption because eating PAH-contaminated mussels in 8-ounce servings every week for 30 years could cause cancer, officials said.

Other seafood such as Dungeness crab, Rock crab, Surf Perch, and herring are safe for human consumption, McCamman said.

All sampled areas, including the Berkeley Pier and Rodeo Beach, are open for fishing.

“We look forward to a clean bill of health and getting back on the water,” McCamman said.

Officials from the state's Fish and Game, Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and Department of Public Health conducted the expedited studies of the sea life to determine if closed waters would be reopened by the originally anticipated Dec. 1 date declared in a state executive order.

Schwarzenegger's order was put into effect Nov. 15, about one week after the spill, and closed San Francisco Bay as well as waters within three miles off the coast between San Pedro Point in San Mateo County and the Point Reyes Lighthouse in Marin County.

According to state officials, all seasons fishing seasons are reopened and remain subject to existing laws. However, fisherman are reminded that oil may wash back into certain areas over the coming months. If a fish

looks or smells like it is oiled, consumption is not wise, according to officials.

Fishermen are also reminded to avoid dragging their catch through reappearing patches of oil.

A full report of the fish and shell fish testing can be viewed at www.oehha.ca.gov.

— Bay City News

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