National Fisherman


HOW MUCH should BP pay for the carelessness that led to the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010?

Last week the giant oil company, the federal government and some Gulf Coast states started wrangling over that question. The parties gathered in New Orleans to begin a federal civil trial, the first phase of a process that will determine the size of the Clean Water Act fines the company must pay.

If the court finds that BP was merely negligent, the company could pay as much as $3.5 billion in fines. If the judge finds that BP was grossly negligent, the company could have to pay as much as $17.6 billion.

Whatever the figure, it would be on top of the $20 billion to $30 billion that BP already has distributed or committed to pay. It would also settle only one of many outstanding legal claims against the company. BP is still liable to pay for the environmental injury it caused, according to the results of a process called the Natural Resources Damage Assessment. Gulf states also recently demanded a whopping $34 billion in economic damages. Given all of these, the Economist calculates, BP's total Deepwater Horizon payout could reach an incredible $90 billion.

A bill anywhere near that large is impossible to justify.

Read the full story at the Washington Post>>

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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