DHH Closes Oyster Harvesting Area 27 Due to Oil Spill

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals:

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announced today the closure of oyster harvesting Area 27 in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

The closure is west of the Mississippi River in Iberia Parish

DHH Secretary Alan Levine and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the closure order, which will take effect at sunset today, Wednesday, June 9, 2010.

DHH officials have been working closely with local, state and federal agencies to monitor the oil plume that continues to grow off of the Louisiana coastline for its potential impacts on oyster harvesting areas. Meanwhile, employees with DHH's Office of Public Health Molluscan Shellfish Program have continued regular testing of 8 million acres of coastal waters along the Louisiana shoreline.

In addition to regular testing schedules, registered sanitarians are collecting oyster meat samples from the closed beds, which then undergo enhanced testing at a private lab to monitor the presence of oil.

Portions of areas 2 and 3 remain closed, as do all of areas 8 through 15, 17 and 28.

The public is encouraged to call a toll-free hotline, 1-800-256-2775, to report the presence of oil or an oil sheen.

For more information related to the oil spill, visit http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.