National Fisherman


NEW ORLEANS — BP asked a federal judge on Tuesday to temporarily halt all settlement payments to Gulf Coast businesses and residents who claim they lost money after the company's 2010 oil spill while former FBI Director Louis Freeh investigates alleged misconduct by a lawyer who helped administer the multibillion-dollar settlement program.

BP PLC argues in a court filing that it shouldn't be required to take the risk that hundreds of millions of dollars in claims payments could be "tainted by fraud, corruption and malfeasance."

"A temporary suspension in ... payments will eliminate the serious risk of any further irreparable harm to BP while having little negative impact upon the claimants," attorneys for the London-based oil giant wrote.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier didn't immediately rule on BP's most recent request to temporarily halt settlement payouts.

In April, Barbier refused to block what could be billions of dollars of payments to businesses after BP argued that he and court-supervised claims administrator Patrick Juneau have misinterpreted the settlement and forced the company to pay for inflated and fictitious losses.

Barbier, who appointed Juneau, upheld his interpretation of settlement terms governing payments to businesses. BP appealed that decision.

Read the full story at Washington Post>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

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The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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