Two of the first oyster harvest areas closed as a result of the Gulf oil spill have been cleared to reopen. The Louisiana Department of Health announced today the reopening of oyster harvesting areas 12 and 13 after working with officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other state and federal partners.

"I’m very proud of how hard everyone has worked to ensure the safety of seafood during this entire event," said LDH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "These are two of the largest and most productive harvest areas along our coast. I am grateful that we’re able to get harvesters back on the water harvesting the safe and delicious oysters Louisiana is known for."

Harvest areas 12 and 13, which were originally closed on May 20th, are west of the Mississippi River. Harvest area 12 is in Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes and Area 13 is in Jefferson and Lafourche parishes. These harvesting areas were closed as a precaution in anticipation of possible oil intrusion.

LDH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the order today to reopen areas 12 and 13 effective one half hour prior to official sunrise October 19.

A handful of oyster harvest areas remain closed, including areas 8, 11 and 23. In addition, areas 9, 10 and 21 remain partially closed. The reopening of most of these areas is in the works as samples have been collected and are being tested in coordination with the FDA.

The public is encouraged to call a toll-free hotline, 1-800-256-2775, to report the presence of oil or an oil sheen. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH’s blog at, Twitter at,  and search for the Louisiana Department of Health on Facebook.