La. shrimpers reporting clean 1st day catch

GRAND ISLE, La. As the fall shrimping season begins along the coast of /*Louisiana*/, fisherman headed out to water amid anxiety over whether the catch will be tainted by crude and whether anyone will buy it even if it is clean.

"We're not seeing any oil where I'm at. No tar balls, nothing," said Brian Amos, a 53-year-old shrimper who trawled in his 28-foot skiff, The Rolling Thunder, in a bay near Empire.

The good news of the oil-free catch is a step toward normalcy for many coastal towns that have been limbo since the /*oil spill*/ shut down fishing about four months ago. Louisiana leads the nation in shrimp, blue crab, oysters and crawfish. The state's seafood industry overall generates approximately billion a year.

Latest developments

  • Scientists who reviewed government data said that instead of only 26 percent of the oil remaining in the /*Gulf*/, as a federal report said earlier this month, it's actually closer to 80 percent. Scientists say the oil hasn't gone anywhere and that it's still lurking in the deep waters. However, the White House energy adviser Carol Browner said early in August: "More than three-quarters of the oil is gone. The vast majority of the oil is gone."
  • Laboratory tests on seafood from the Gulf have shown little hazard from oil, and a test is being developed for the chemicals used to disperse the crude, though there is no evidence they build up in seafood. Still, shrimpers are worried that the public won't want what they catch.
  • The /*Obama*/ administration announced it is requiring environmental reviews for all new deep-water oil drilling, ending the kind of exemptions that allowed BP to drill its ill-fated well with little scrutiny.
  • /*BP*/ said it will give federal and state health organizations $52 million to help people dealing with stress and anxiety because of the spill, which erupted after the offshore drilling rig /*Deepwater Horizon*/ exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. The oil finally stopped flowing in mid-July after BP put a temporary cap on the blown-out well.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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