National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

lincIn Mixed Catch, NF Senior Editor Linc Bedrosian spotlights a wide range of commercial fishing-related news items from coast to coast.

Somebody stop Exxon Mobil before they litigate again.

Alas, the Supreme Court passed this week on ruling whether the oil giant should pay interest on the punitive damages award it must pay to the plaintiffs for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound. Instead, it kicked the question back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for resolution.

The original $5 billion sum eventually got whittled down to $2.5 billion and then the Supreme Court chopped that total down to $507.5 million in late June. Now Exxon Mobil is arguing that the interest payments should accrue from the date of the Supreme Court ruling, not from 1994 when punitive damages were first set.

Think Exxon would appeal a negative ruling from the appeals court?

There are many things that are vexing about this whole mess, and we've done our fair share of writing about it, too.

What bothers me most is that it really makes me wonder what has happened to our moral compass. I understand we don't live in the land of milk and honey. Everybody isn't sitting around the campfire, making smores and singing "Kumbaya".

And yes, Exxon Mobil's legal eagles have a fiduciary responsibility to explore every possible avenue to protect their client. No one can say they haven't been thorough.

But at some point, if you're a member of Exxon Mobil's Board of Directors or a shareholder, you stand up and say, "Enough already."

You say, yeah, we can exhaust every legal avenue available to us, drag the battle out for years and in the end, probably not have to pay anywhere near the sum the jury originally set. But that doesn't mean we should.

You say, our net profit won't be quite as robust and our stock dividends won't pay out quite as handsomely. But we need to help these people and give the plaintiffs the resources to try and put their lives back together. That's what you say.

Isn't it?

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 10/21/14

In this episode:

North Pacific Council adjusts observer program
Fishermen: bluefin fishing best in 10 years
Catch limit raised for Bristol Bay red king crab
Canadian fishermen fight over lobster size rules
River conference addresses Dead Zone cleanup

National Fisherman Live: 10/7/14

In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about the 1929 dragger Vandal.

 

Inside the Industry

NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

Read more...

The Golden Gate Salmon Association will host its 4th Annual Marin County Dinner at Marin Catholic High School, 675 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Kentfield on Friday, Oct 10, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.

Read more...

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