Fishing in Orange County Resumes After Southern California Oil Spill

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times/TNS) -
huntington beach oil spill
Crew members clean up the oil spill at Huntington Beach, California, last month. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Fishing can resume along the Orange County coast Tuesday afternoon, after the California Department of Fish and Wildlife determined it is safe to eat seafood taken from the waters after a massive oil spill in early October.

An estimated 25,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the ocean from a ruptured pipeline off the coast of Huntington Beach. Sticky black crude washed ashore along beaches across Southern California, and the Orange County shoreline was closed to recreational and commercial activities, including surfing, swimming and fishing.

On Oct. 3, the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a fisheries closure that stretched 45 miles along the coast and banned the taking of fish and shellfish from Huntington Beach to Dana Point, including all bays and harbors from Seal Beach to San Onofre State Beach.

State officials determined it was not healthy to consume fish taken from the water after the spill because of chemicals in oil that can increase the risk for cancer. From Oct. 14 to Nov. 3, officials with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment tested seafood taken from the shore and at sea for chemicals found in crude oil that can build up in animals, such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

“After thorough seafood testing, OEHHA has determined that there are no longer potential public health hazards associated with seafood consumption as a result of the October 2 oil spill,” Department of Fish and Wildlife director Charlton H. Bonham wrote Monday.