Off the wire

Gulf area closed to fishing expands
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the area of the Gulf of Mexico closed to fishing because of the BP oil spill grew by 7 percent to 86,985 square miles. The area closed is now as large as the entire State of Minnesota. The closed area represents 36 percent of the U.S. economic zone in the Gulf. Four of the five Gulf states have closed state waters as well. The closures are imposed to ensure that seafood that is harvested is safe to eat.

Read the complete story from Food Safety News.

Judge blocks Gulf offshore drilling moratorium
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge struck down the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, saying the government rashly concluded that because one rig failed, the others are in immediate danger, too. The White House promised an immediate appeal. The Interior Department had halted approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling of 33 exploratory wells in the Gulf.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

16.5M baby salmon released into Calif. waterways
SAN PABLO BAY, Calif. — Millions of baby salmon have been released into Northern California waterways to help the struggling fish recover from population declines.

The state Department of Fish and Game says most of the 16.5 million young salmon smolts were released into San Pablo Bay, located between the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Oil threatens key Gulf algae and its ecosystem
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. — It looks dirty and muddy, a brown mass of weeds with gas-filled berries that allow it to float on the Gulf of Mexico's waters. Sometimes it washes ashore, getting caught in the toes of barefoot beachgoers or stuck to the bottom of flip-flops.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill costs BP $2 billion
NEW ORLEANS — Companies that ferry people and supplies to offshore oil rigs asked a federal judge Monday to lift a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects imposed in the aftermath of the massive Gulf spill.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman heard two hours of arguments Monday and said he will decide by Wednesday whether to overturn the ban imposed by President Barack Obama's administration after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.

The April 20 disaster killed 11 workers and blew out a well that has gushed anywhere from 68 million to 126 millions of oil into the Gulf.

BP said Monday it has spent $2 billion in two months fighting the spill and compensating victims, with no end in sight. It's likely to be at least August before crews finish two relief wells that are the best chance of stopping the flow of oil.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Oil spill stirs study, debate over health impacts
ATLANTA — When an Associated Press reporter went scuba diving in the oil-streaked Gulf of Mexico this month, people commenting on websites worried about his health. But at the same time, the oil sure didn't bother some beachgoers in Alabama.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Whaling commission ponders suspending hunting ban
AGADIR, Morocco — The International Whaling Commission began its most important meeting in decades debating whether to scrap an ineffective 25-year ban on commercial hunting and instead allow for limited whaling under a more enforceable regime.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

World record carp smashed by 99lb giant
The captor, British angler Ambrose Smith, admitted he 'felt like doing a somersault' after catching the new world record carp from The Graviers fishery, near Dijon, in France.

Read the complete story from Angling Times.

26 rescued from flooded fishing boat off San Diego
SAN DIEGO — Police and U.S. Coast Guard officers rescued 26 people Friday from a charter fishing boat that was flooding after damaging its hull in Mexican waters south of San Diego, authorities said.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Citation's Owner "Mate-For Hire Had No Fishing Permit"
The lack of a $15 fishing license cost the Citation $912,825, not to mention first place and a spot in the record books in the 52nd annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament.
Read the complete story from The Daily News.