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Shrimpers back in Florida waters

GULF OF MEXICO — Shrimping is now permitted in state waters off the western tip of the Florida Panhandle that had been closed due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

As a precaution, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission closed the 23-mile stretch of water off Escambia County on June 14 to fishing, crabbing and shrimping.

Officials say laboratory tests confirm that the shrimp are oil-free and safe to eat.

Fishing has been allowed since July 31 in the same waters from the Florida-Alabama border east to Pensacola Beach.

The area remains closed to crab harvesting pending additional testing.

Oysters, clams and mussels were not included in the closure and are open to harvest.

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