National Fisherman


NEW ORLEANS -- A federal judge was set to begin hearing three weeks of testimony Monday about how much oil made it into the ocean during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Experts for BP and the federal government will provide U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier with very different estimates when the second phase of a trial resumes for litigation spawned by the spill.

The amount of oil that spewed into the Gulf is a key factor in determining how much more money BP and its contractors owe for their roles in the deadly disaster.

Justice Department attorneys will try to persuade Barbier that the best set of data on oil flow comes from a pressure gauge on the capping stack used to seal the blown-out well.

"The pressure data, collection rates, and geometry of the capping stack are by far the most accurate and reliable sources of information on flow rate, and were recognized as such by all parties at the time," they wrote in a pretrial filing.

BP, however, says the government's experts ignored other important data. Company lawyers say its experts used a "proven methodology" that doesn't require "simplistic and unverified assumptions about flow conditions."

"In contrast, the United States' experts employ unproven methods that require significant assumptions and extrapolations in lieu of, and even directly inconsistent with, the available data and other evidence," company attorneys wrote.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was working at the site of BP's Macondo well off the Louisiana coast when the well blew out April 20, 2010. The explosion on the rig killed 11 workers and set off a massive fire. The rig sank less than two days later to the bottom, about a mile below the Gulf surface.

Read the full story at the Weather Channel>>

Inside the Industry

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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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

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