Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wash Po-Where Did The Oil Go?; Gulf Fishermen Cautious

Gulf Shrimpers in Louisiana: marketplace.publicradio.org
(Story reported by David A. Farenthold and Juliet Eilperin for the Washington Post)

On Monday, Louisiana's shrimpers could shrimp again. On the first day of the state's fall season, boats began unloading their catch at bayou-side docks, and processors began peeling, freezing and packaging the shellfish for the long trip to America's dinner plates. 

Federal officials said it was safe. They had allowed states to reopen harvest areas, they said, only after tests on fish and shrimp showed no signs of oil or dispersants. In fact, federal officials said, they did not turn up a single piece of seafood that was unsafe to eat -- even at the height of BP's oil spill.

But, like many things in the Gulf of Mexico, Monday's ritual only looked like a return to normal. In some places, the start of shrimping was greeted with suspicion instead of joy. 

Some fishermen and their families worried that the government's testing was inadequate -- and that if any seafood diners wound up with a plate of oil-tainted scampi, it would be a knockout blow for their industry. In Venice, La., a shrimper was told he wouldn't be paid for his catch until the buyer ran it through tests.  

(click here to read the full story on the Washington Post website)

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