MDEQ: 1,000 tar balls spotted south of Horn Island - - The News for South Mississippi

MDEQ: 1,000 tar balls spotted south of Horn Island

Petit Bois Island, June 11 (Photo source: MDEQ) Petit Bois Island, June 11 (Photo source: MDEQ)
June 11th Closure Map (Source: DMR) June 11th Closure Map (Source: DMR)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A thousand tar balls have broken up in a 500 foot area just south of Horn Island. That's according to Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality staff members who toured the area Friday afternoon.

And all that debris in the water means a larger portion of the Mississippi Sound is now closed to fishermen.

A 20 foot wide line of orange mousse and tar patties was also spotted about a quarter of a mile southeast of Petit Bois Island. Tar balls and mousse are also covering the southern length of Petit Bois, about a third of the eastern side, and along the south side of Horn Island.

Emulsified oil seen a couple miles south of Petit Bois Island has broken up into sheen.

Teams are skimming the debris from the water's surface, while the tar balls and mousse patties on land are being removed with shovels and rakes.

"We should expect materials for the next two days," said MDEQ Executive Director Trudy Fisher. "MDEQ and the Department of Marine Resources will continue to monitor by aerial surveillance, on the water, and on shore the movement of materials and the clean up activities to ensure every possible action is being taken to guard the passes and keep any oil out of the Mississippi Sound."

Because of the oil related debris, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has expanded the area of Mississippi waters closed to commercial and recreational fishing, including all species of finfish, crabs, shrimp and oysters.

The revised closure area includes the area south of Horn Island along the southern shoreline, in addition to those waters lying south of 30 degrees 18 minutes north latitude to federal waters and east of 88 degrees 39 minutes west longitude to the Mississippi-Alabama state boundary.

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