MISSISSIPPI SOUND (WLOX) - Nearly a month after announcing the closure of all Mississippi beaches, the state Department of Environmental Quality announced Friday all beaches are now open to near shore swimming and wading.
MDEQ defines near shore as from the shipping channel to the shoreline.
MDEQ announced the closure of all beaches on Dec. 11, 2015, after massive algae blooms moved into the Mississippi Sound.
Officials said the red tide was caused by a large concentration of Karenia brevis algae. Recent Mississippi Department of Marine Resources sampling indicated a zero cell count for the algae.
While the beaches are open for swimming and wading, oyster reefs in the Mississippi Sound remain closed. Guidelines for harvesting fish and other seafood are handled by DMR.
MDEQ officials are still watching the beaches for signs of dead fish and encourage people to not eat dead fish pulled from the water or found on the beach.