Effective Tuesday, Nov. 30 the fisheries closure that was implemented following the Southern California oil spill was lifted. Fishing was allowed to resume midday on Tuesday.
The closure began on Oct. 3, 2021 and prohibited the take of all fish and shellfish from Huntington Beach to Dana Point, including the shorelines and offshore areas and all bays. On that day, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) determined that a threat to public health from consuming fish in the affected area was likely. OEHHA recommended the closure to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The CDFW’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response Administrator, Thomas Cullen, signed the closure on behalf of CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. On Oct. 5 and Oct. 7, the original closure area was expanded to include approximately 650 square miles of marine waters and approximately 45 miles of shoreline. The closure boundaries also included all bays and harbors from Seal Beach to San Onofre State Beach.
OEHHA sampled seafood in the area from Oct. 14 to Nov. 3, in order to measure and evaluate levels of certain chemicals found in oil, known as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs can accumulate in species caught for human consumption, causing an increased risk for cancer and other adverse health conditions. Final reports and data summaries will be made publicly available on OEHHA’s website in the near future.
Monday, Nov. 29, OEHHA notified CDFW that there is no further risk to public health from seafood consumption in the affected area and recommended that fishing and consumption of seafood from the area can resume. Director Bonham signed the declaration lifting the closure effective at 11:59 a.m. Tuesday. The declaration and additional information can be found at socallspillresponse.com/fisheries-closure.