Published: Jun 09, 2010 3:12 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 08, 2010 3:12 PM EDT

Florida officials are posting the first signs on a western Panhandle island warning swimmers to stay out of the water because of pollution caused by the Gulf oil spill.

The signs posted Tuesday on Perdido Key are the first in Florida
since oil arrived on western Panhandle shores last week.

Pensacola Mayor Mike Wiggins said a tarry, mouse-like substance
 is in the water. It's different from the tar balls that have been
washing ashore.

The pollution comes from the April 20 explosion on a BP oil rig
that unleashed an undersea gusher.

Perdido Key is on the Florida and Alabama state line and is
 known for its pristine white sand beach.

Tuesday, Florida Fish and Wildlife cspotted small tar balls in the water about 3/4 mile off the shore of Perdido Key, on the Florida-Alabama line.

The reddish-brown tarballs were quarter to half- dollar size and floating along the surface of the water.

According to NOAA, the primary oil plume is less than five miles off Pensacola Beach. Oil sheen and tarballs are much closer and could continue to impact the beaches of the Florida panhandle through Wednesday.

WINK News reporters Kyle Jordan and Haley Hinds are in the Panhandle covering all angles of the Gulf Coast Disaster.  See their reports daily on WINK News.