May 18, 2010 / 4:26 PM / 10 years ago

U.S. expands no-fishing zone around oil spill

MIAMI (Reuters) - The United States has nearly doubled the no-fishing zone in the Gulf of Mexico because of the spread of oil leaking from the ruptured BP well, a federal official said on Tuesday.

The no-fishing zone now covers 19 percent of U.S. waters in the Gulf, up from 10 percent on Monday, said Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

She said the move was made in response to the possibility that leaking oil had entered the Loop Current that could carry it to the Florida Keys and then possibly up U.S. Atlantic Coast.

U.S. territorial waters in the Gulf of Mexico are technically referred to as the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from shore or 230 statute miles.

Reporting by Tom Brown, writing by Jane Sutton; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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