The peak of the shrimping and fishing season was disrupted by the Deepwater Horizon incident and the resulting oil spill. This affected many species of fishes, crabs, shrimps, clams, and oysters and has greatly reduced the quantity and quality of marine life in the Gulf area. In the last decade, the U.S. fishing industry has become very dependent on the Gulf Coast because of the huge amount of seafood harvests in the area. But because of the incident, these harvests have dropped dramatically affecting many individuals and businesses. The BP oil spill caused the closing of the Gulf Coast for fishing and other seafood activities.
About 19% of the coast was affected by the oil spill and many species of seafood and fishes were affected. Oil continued to spill for about 3 months after the incident and even if clean-up activities were undertaken, there is no doubt that the ecosystem has been impacted and will not be able to recuperate in the next few decades. In Alabama, the fishing industry accounts for nearly 20,000 jobs and about $700 million in sales. And it will take a great amount of effort to bring back the losses and damages to the industry.
What BP Does to Take Responsibility BP has already been tasked to provide compensation to legitimate claims from individuals and businesses affected in the Gulf Coast. When an agreement has been reached between BP and the PSC, BP settlement claims were already filed. Initially the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) handled the distribution of payments. BP has placed an escrow fund of $20 billion to pay for all legitimate claims but the GCCF was replaced by a court-supervised program to make processing of claims much faster and easier. Aside from paying individuals and businesses that have legitimate claims, BP also agrees to pay for the activities that will help remove oil debris and chemicals in affected areas. There are also programs set up by BP for all medical claims by workers and residents injured by these activities. Claims typically filed are:
1. Loss of income or profit
2. Damage to properties (including real estate and fishing vessels)
3. Medical injuries
4. Government claims Guidelines and requirements for claims vary depending on who is filing and what is being reported. But BP promises that all legitimate claims will be paid and processing of these claims will be much faster and more efficient now that it has been turned over to the Federal Court.
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