Published: Jul 12, 2010 9:26 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 12, 2010 6:26 PM EDT

GULF OF MEXICO - More than 84-thousand square miles are now closed to fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.  That's about 35% of the Gulf of Mexico.

NOAA says the majority of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are open to commercial and recreational fishing.  NOAA Fisheries Service strongly advises fishermen not to fish in areas where oil or oil sheens are present, even if those areas are not currently closed to fishing.

If state waters are closed to fishing due to the oil spill, all vessels must comply with that closure. If state waters are not closed to fishing due to the oil spill, federally permitted vessels may fish in those waters while abiding by all other applicable regulations.

Permit holders are reminded to maintain their federal vessel permits by submitting timely reporting requirements and renewal applications, even if the vessel is not currently engaged in fishing activities.