Biden visits Alabama with welcoming news

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Vice President Joe Biden made a major announcement when he stopped along the Alabama Gulf Coast Thursday.  It was his first trip to the state since the BP oil spill occurred in April.

He stopped in Theodore to view clean up operations and talk with fishermen and business.  "We're not just talking about a natural ecosystem in danger down here," Biden told the crowd.  "We're talking about an economic ecosystem.  We're also talking about a cultural ecosystem, a whole way of life."

In an effort to help restore the coastal economy, Biden announced that starting Thursday, 25-thousand square miles of coast would be reopened to fishing.  "And we're going to be able to certify everything that comes out of that 25-thousand miles is safe to eat."

Alabama officials will open Mobile Bay to shrimping.  Just in time for shrimp season, which opens Friday, two months later than usual.

A survey shows that the shrimp is oil free.  Shrimpers say opening the bay will help a lot as long as they can find someone to take their catch.