Almost one-third of Gulf fishing grounds closed

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Contract workers from BP use skimmers to clean oil from a marsh near Pass a Loutre on June 1, 2010 near Venice, Louisiana.

NEW ORLEANS -- Almost one-third of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico is closing to commercial and recreational fishing because of the oil spill.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration expanded the area by 5 percent Tuesday. NOAA says as of 6 p.m. EDT Tuesday that nearly 76,000 square miles would be off-limits because of oil spreading from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. That's more than 31 percent of federal Gulf waters.

The irregular shape ban extends from Atchafalaya Bay, La., east to a point about 200 miles west of Naples, Fla., and then bending south.

© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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