(JACKSON, Miss.) — The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), through its Beach Monitoring Program, lifted a Gulf Coast wide beach closure Friday that was issued December 11 due to a large concentration of Karenia brevis algae causing a red tide off shore.

The lifting of the closure only applies to near shore swimming, wading, or other water contact. Near shore is defined as from the shipping channel in the Mississippi Sound to the shoreline. Near shore sampling by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) indicate a zero cell count for Karenia brevis.

MDEQ staff are monitoring the beaches for dead fish and encourage the public not to touch or consume anything found on the beaches. The guidelines for fishing and harvesting other seafood are handled by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

Conditions are subject to change and MDEQ will continue to monitor the situation and will revise the advisory as needed.

To receive beach advisories directly, send an email to rwilbur@deq.state.ms.us for inclusion in a public group email list, text “MDEQbeach” to 95577, or follow MDEQ on Twitter: @MDEQ.