Gov. Crist seeks federal fishery disaster declaration

— Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is seeking a fishery disaster declaration from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In a letter released Wednesday to Secretary Gary Locke, Crist said the Gulf oil spill's ever-widening boundaries are squeezing the industry out of business and blocking prime snapper and grouper areas.

U.S. Sen Bill Nelson also wrote to Locke requesting a fishery disaster declaration for the state.

Last week, Locke issued an emergency fishery declaration for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The action, which requires congressional and presidential approval, would authorize emergency unemployment pay for commercial and charter fishermen.

Even with a catch to sell, Crist says the fishing industry is suffering from fears Gulf seafood is unsafe to eat.

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

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