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Oystermen eager to either help clean up gulf oil spill or get back to work

Far out in the shallows, at the sweet spot where freshwater from the land and salt from the sea play a perfect duet, Ray Vath stands in his boat, ringed by uneasy horizons. To Vath's left, distant oil rigs form the only dark and immobile points on a soft sky. To his right, still miles out but coming closer, is BP's oil.  "This is the best place Mother Nature gives us," Vath says over wind and motor sounds. "The farther the oil comes in, the worse it's going to be."  No one knows yet what portion of the geyser of crude from BP's wrecked Deepwater Horizon platform will reach these premier oyster grounds of southeastern Louisiana or the marshes that surround and shelter them.

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