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Press Release

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Conservation Department Opens State Waters for Catch and Release Fishing

June 24, 2010

Effective immediately, the Alabama Department of Conservation announces the opening for recreational catch and release fishing in State waters closed to fishing in response to the presence of oil. Closed State waters include all Gulf waters out to the 3-mile State/Federal line, Mississippi Sound avoiding Katrina Cut, and the area south of a line extending east from Mobile Ship Channel Marker 22 to Little Point Clear. Anglers shall not keep or possess fish while in closed waters. All fishing remains prohibited in Federal waters. Anglers are reminded to stay clear of booms and booming operations, all working vessels, and areas with visible oil and/or sheen.

The following protective measures are advised:
• Avoid direct skin contact with the oil.
• If you get oil or tar balls on your skin, wash with soap and water.
• Launder clothing as usual if you get oil on it.
• There is no need to use harsh detergents, solvents or other chemicals to wash oil from skin or clothing, and it is discouraged.

Some people also may be sensitive to any change in air quality, which could cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or headaches. If you have these symptoms, we recommend that you leave the area. If these symptoms do not improve, you should then consider contacting your primary care physician or other health care provider for medical advice. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory illness, you should consider communicating with your physician if you feel symptomatic. If you come into contact with an area of strong odor, it is recommended that you move to another location.

“Many fish for the pure pleasure of catching and then releasing already. We see no reason why that activity can’t continue,” said Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions:  Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

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