National

Aug 17, 2010 8:14 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Louisiana shrimpers reporting clean 1st day catch

Commercial shrimpers who spent much of the summer mopping up oil in the Gulf of Mexico say the first day back to doing what they normally do was a good one.

Shrimpers indicate the first catch since BP's disastrous spill was plentiful and, just as importantly, free of oil. The new season opened amid anxiety over whether the catch will be tainted by crude and whether anyone will buy it even if it is clean.

Louisiana ranks first in the nation in shrimp, blue crab, crawfish and oysters, and the state's seafood industry overall generates an estimated $2.4 billion a year.

The shrimpers' optimism comes as five Georgia scientists question the government claim that most of the oil is gone. The scientists say around 80 percent of the oil is still there, not 26 percent.

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