Fishing Grounds Still Closed Over Contaminant Fears

Fishing grounds in the Santa Barbara Channel hit by the May 19 Refugio Oil Spill will remain closed for the foreseeable future as scientists study recently collected shellfish and finfish for contaminates.

State scientists completed the first round of specimen collection last week, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Alexia Retallack, detailing a two-week process of gathering sea life at various depths and distances from shore, then transporting them for laboratory testing. Once the results are in, she added, a second round of testing begins, and perhaps a third, depending on contaminate concentrations.

The closed area – restricting both commercial and recreational take – covers 138 square miles between Coal Oil Point and Hollister Ranch, six miles seaward.

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