NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Commercial and recreational fishing can resume in nearly 6,900 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico south of the Florida panhandle.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that's about 29 percent of the area closed until Friday's announcement, and about 8 percent of all closings from the 200-million-gallon oil spill.
Scientists say the last sheen was July 13, and fish test clean of oil and safe to eat.
The area is about 220 miles south of the Panhandle and 130 miles southeast of the BP PLC well that blew wild April 20, between the Florida-Alabama state line and Cape San Blas, Fla.
The closed areas peaked in June at about 88,500 square miles, or 37 percent of federal waters.
About 16,500 square miles - 7 percent of federal waters - remain closed.