Louisiana fishermen still suffering from 2010 oil spill

Louisiana fishermen still suffering from 2010 oil spill

Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:12AM GMT

Four years after oil spill disaster, the Gulf of Mexico seafood industry is still holding its breath as a result of the tragedy.

The Louisiana fishermen say the oyster population in the Gulf of Mexico has yet to rebound and continues to suffer lower birth rates and higher mortality rates than before the 2010 spill.

As a result of the disaster, Oyster production in Louisiana, which typically accounts for one third of all oyster production nationwide, dropped by half in 2010.

Experts are still probing potential problems with crabs and shrimps as well.

Last week, Federal judge Carl Barbier ruled that oil giant BP acted with “gross negligence” during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The ruling, part of a civil suit case involving the federal government and five US states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, could potentially quadruple the fines the company faces under the Clean Water Act.

Under the federal Clean Water Act, “simple” negligence carries a maximum penalty of $1,100 per barrel; gross negligence carries a $4,300 per barrel maximum fine.

Using the official government estimate of 4.2 million barrels of spilled oil, the BP could be liable for up to $18 billion in penalties.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster, which began in April 2010 with an explosion aboard the rig and continued throughout the summer, is considered the worst environmental disaster in American history.

In addition to claiming the lives of 11 workers, it released a record amount of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in an enormous oil slick, visible from space and affecting wildlife in an area of 68,000 square miles (180,000 km2).

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