MEXICO CITY, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Mexico has made contingency plans for the possible scenario that the disastrous oil spill off the U.S. shores would reach its waters, the country's aquaculture commissioner said on Monday.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Commissioner Ramon Corral Avila said that Mexico is totally ready. "We have plans, strategies through the Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food Ministry, as well as with other bodies responsible for protecting the environment in our country."
The Mexican authorities believe that the winter flows will bring part of the spill to Mexican coasts, said Corral, head of the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fishing.
"Probably at the last quarter of the year we will see the first effects" in northeastern Mexico, and then "from there the flow will go back to the Atlantic," he added.
Noting that the 85-day-old gusher has caused massive damage along the U.S. coast, he said the Mexican authorities "think that the effect in the Gulf of Mexico will be negative."
At present, Corral added, the main measure is to monitor the state of the spill every day. "To the moment we do not have a concrete result of what we are monitoring," he said.
The government is very much concerned with the spill's possible impacts on the fish population and coastal species in the "red zone," he added.
The areas exposed to the risk have an output value of more than 400 million U.S. dollars, with the shrimping industry counting for about 40 percent, he said.
The National Institute of Fishery has carried out an assessment of possible impacts, and the government has also made an action plan for the fishery sector.
Under the contingency plan, in addition to continuous monitoring, the navy and the state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos will have training in detecting hydrocarbons and reducing the damage to the minimum, Corral said.
The leak, regarded as the biggest environmental disaster in the U.S. history, began after a Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers. It is estimated that hundreds of millions of liters of oil have spewed into the sea.