Posts Tagged Refugio oil spill

Jun 30 2015

Fishing Grounds Reopen After Refugio Oil Spill

To the surprise of pretty much everybody paying attention to the 138-square-mile closure of all fishing grounds in and around the May 19 Refugio Oil Spill site, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reopened the closed region on Monday afternoon.

As of late last week, there was no indication that fishermen would be permitted access to the area any time soon. “Turnaround was incredibly quick and everybody was stoked that all those fish came in clean,” said commercial fisherman Michael Harrington, referring to the range of invertebrates and finfish that were collected and tested for contamination.

Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Alexia Retallack said that the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment “worked with the testing labs to expedite the process.” The emergency closure covered an area from Coal Oil Point to Hollister ranch, six miles out to sea.

Commercial and recreational fishing is still restricted within the Naples and Campus Point marine conservation areas, both of which were established in 2012. Also, the annual mussel quarantine — to protect the public against paralytic shellfish poisoning — is currently in effect and typically runs until the end of October.

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May 22 2015

Declaration of Fisheries Closure Due to a Public Health Threat Caused by an Oil Spill Affecting Marine Waters


UPDATE: Declaration of Fisheries Closure Due to a Public Health Threat Caused by an Oil Spill Affecting Marine Waters

On May 19, 2015 a pipeline break occurred near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, affecting shorelines to the east and west. The initial statement estimated that 500 barrels of heavy crude oil was released and the responsible party has been identified as Plains All American.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) was informed of this spill. OEHHA recommended that a fisheries closure be initiated. On May 19, 2015 a closure was issued, prohibiting the catch and consumption of finfish and shellfish in the area of the closure.

OEHHA has revised its recommendation regarding the  geographic boundaries of the closed area, and is advising that fishers avoid fishing in areas where there is visible sheen on the water. In consultation with OEHHA, the fishery closure area set on May 19, 2015 has been extended. The geographic boundaries of the closure include coastal areas from Canada de Alegeria at the western edge to Coal Oil Point at the eastern edge. The closure boundary includes the  shoreline and offshore areas between these points to 6 miles offshore. This closure is effective immediately. This closure prohibits the take of finfish and shellfish either from shorelines or from vessels on the water. An updated map is available online.


The official CDFW fisheries closure declaration is available online. For more information, please visit the CDFW Office of Spill Prevention and Response web page.