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

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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