COMMERCIAL OYSTER HARVESTING
The massive BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has forced state officials to close additional oyster beds and BP’s oil spill will have a devastating effect on oyster fishing for years to come. It is too early to gauge the economic and environmental toll, as oil continues to poison oyster beds throughout the Gulf. 60% of all U.S. oyster fishing is in the Gulf of Mexico and oyster harvesting brings in over $60 million in revenue for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama each year. Other estimates place the total economic impact of the Gulf Coast oyster industry closer to $500 million. While the future of oyster harvesting in the Gulf Coast region is uncertain, one thing is clear – a pattern of negligence and a subsequent series of failures by BP and other companies seem to be the catalyst for the devastation being unleashed on Gulf Coast communities.
The fallout from the contamination and poisoning of the Gulf Coast’s oyster beds will ripple throughout the ecological and economic food chain. The region is home to some of the World’s last, intact network of oyster reefs. These reefs help protect the wetlands, serve as breakwaters, filter water impurities, and help support a complex web of inter-dependant species. The collapse of the Gulf Coast oyster reefs will result in irreparable damage to the ecosystem and the destruction of businesses, livelihoods, and communities.
In an interview with Gulf Coast reporters, BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said that the company would pay "legitimate claims" from people who lose their livelihood as a result of the spill. The challenge, he said, will be for the company to figure out how to pay claims "in the gray area." This is where the Oil Spill Task Force, sponsored by Arnold & Itkin, can offer assistance to oystermen.
Our team is a collaborative effort between environmental experts, financial consultants, and attorneys who work together to help determine the strengths of individual claims and represent those claims for the maximum compensation available.
We have heard numerous concerns regarding the claims process BP has established for the oyster industry. There are complaints of conflicting instructions, unnecessary paperwork, delayed payments, discriminatory treatment towards oystermen with legal help, and other serious objections that should be addressed. The Oil Spill Task Force relies on the attorneys of Arnold & Itkin to help ensure BP is compliant with the laws and regulations they are obligated to operate under – and this includes the fair and legitimate treatment of the claims being brought by oystermen throughout the Gulf.
A “legitimate” claim for compensation may be brought on the grounds of loss of income (current and future), property damage (boats, equipment, and land), environmental contamination, or business interruption. Those with claims include not only oyster farms and harvesters but also restaurants that rely on the oysters / seafood for their business, supply shops that equip the fishing community, marinas, and other businesses who are at risk.
If you would like to discuss your complaint and possible claim with our team, please call 888-498-8212 - we focus on representing your financial interests in claims against BP.