The Louisiana Department of Health announced today the partial closures of oyster harvesting areas 17, 19 and 21 in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

The partial closures of areas 17, 19 and 21 are west of the Mississippi River in Terrebonne Parish. The closures are effective south of latitude line 29 13'12" from the Houma Navigation Canal red buoy line westward to the eastern shore of Oyster Bayou.

LDH Secretary Alan Levine and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the closure order, which will take effect at sunset today, Thursday, July 1, 2010.

LDH officials have been working closely with local, state and federal agencies to monitor the oil plume that continues to grow off of the Louisiana coastline for its potential impacts on oyster harvesting areas.

In addition to regular testing schedules, LDH scientists and engineers are conducting enhanced testing of oyster meat taken from the beds to monitor for the presence of oil. Oysters being harvested in areas open for harvesting have been deemed safe by DHH.

Areas 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 29 and 30 remain closed. In addition to the partial closures of 17, 19 and 21 today, areas 2, 3, 9 and 10 remain partially closed. All other areas are open.

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 more information related to the oil spill, visit Connect with us on and on Twitter as @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at