The California Department of Fish and Wildlife lifted the ban at 11:59 a.m. Tuesday and allowed fishing to resume midday.
The oil spill, first reported on Oct. 2, was blamed on a leak about 5 miles off the coast in a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy that shuttles crude from offshore oil platforms to the coast.
The cause is under investigation, but federal officials have said the pipeline was likely initially damaged by a ship’s anchor.
An estimated 25,000 gallons of heavy crude leaked into waters off Orange County. The subsequent closure covered 650 square miles of coastal waters and approximately 45 miles of shoreline.
Beaches were closed about a week before reopening for surfing and swimming. Fishing took longer to resume because environmental health experts said fish in spill zones can ingest oil, which contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that can cause cancer in people if eaten in certain quantities.
The decision to lift the ban on fishing came after testing to ensure the fish along the coast were safe for human consumption.
The weeks-long closure dealt a blow to fishermen who said customers didn’t want to buy their catch, fearing it was contaminated, and walloped charter operators who run fishing trips off the Southern California coast.
Some have joined lawsuits against Amplify and say their biggest fear is that the spill’s stigma will drive away tourists even after the oily tar that washed up on the beaches is long gone.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.