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Aug 8, 2010 2:28 PM

Gulf seafood industry tries to shake an oily image

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Those who rely on the Gulf of Mexico's rich fishing grounds say there's a new crisis brewing convincing skeptical consumers that the seafood they harvest and sell is safe to eat.

The Gulf's fisheries are beginning to reopen more than three months after the oil began gushing from the sea floor, but those in the seafood industry say that doesn't mean everything has returned to normal.

Ewell Smith, director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, says there is a huge perception problem and markets lost may be lost for good.

More fishing grounds have reopened since BP's blown-out well was corked July 15.

Even with that progress, safety suspicions abound. Consumers are turning up their noses and some wary suppliers appear to be turning to imports.

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