Mississippi's territorial waters north of the barrier islands will be open to commercial and recreation crabbing of blue crabs as of 5 p.m. today, state and federal agencies announced.
The decision was made by the Department of Marine Resources, the Department of Environmental Quality,the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The reopening is being implemented after the completion of extensive sampling and testing conducted by the MDMR, MDEQ, NOAA and FDA, according to a press release from the DMR.
The FDA has advised that, following extensive sensory testing and chemical analysis, tissue samples tested indicate that crabs from these previously closed areas north of the barrier islands are safe for consumption.
Testing for crab tissues includes specimens of special interest, such as those with dark gills, brought to DMRs attention by concerned fishermen and the public; all of these samples have been determined to be safe for consumption as well.
All other regulations specific to each particular fishery will remain in full force and effect.