May 24th, 2010
09:18 PM ET

U.S. declares fisheries disaster in oily Gulf

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Monday declared a fishery disaster in the Gulf of Mexico because of the economic impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on fisheries in the region.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has closed nearly 20 percent of the commercial and recreational fisheries in the area because of the spill, and Locke's declaration will allow the federal government to put additional resources into the Gulf states to soften the blow.

"The disaster determination will help ensure that the federal government is in a position to mobilize the full range of assistance that fishermen and fishing communities may need," Locke said in a statement accompanying the declaration.

Fishing is a $2.4 billion industry in the Gulf states. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour requested the declaration, "based on the loss of access to many commercial fisheries and the existing and anticipated environmental damage from this unprecedented event," the statement said.

"We stand with America's fishermen, their families and businesses in impacted coastal communities during this challenging time," Locke said. "Commercial and recreational fishing provides vital jobs to the region and is essential to the Gulf Coast's unique culture and heritage."

The Commerce Department said the Obama administration has asked for about $20 million so far to offset the costs of the spill's impact. But the statement reiterated that oil company BP, whose ruptured undersea well off Louisiana is the source of the spill, "and any other responsible parties" will have to pay to clean up the region and make good on any economic losses.

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Detective L

    ...I would have to agree now with Coyote on the nature of this product that BP is using to disperse the petroleum. If figures like this are accurate, then on a comparable scale to how much Corexit 9500 is already being used by the company to break up the oil is going to only further escalate the calamity, and not hinder it. This bit of insight only leads to a belief that perhaps BP wishes as little further media coverage as possible? The only plausible way to explain such a reckless move is perhaps they are counting on the naivety of average citizens in implementing an 'out of sight, out of mind' policy to prevent their stocks from plummeting any further. A very narrow minded approach, you could say, and I would agree. My opinion is strictly my own. I think for the most part though, they are going about reducing the economic impact of this incident the wrong way.

    Then again, you could look at BP's response to the continued usage of the product. Their experts, in defense stand by the notion that Corexit 9500 does not linger as long as other products in the environment. Though this may be true, short term effects could still potentially be devastating, as the ratio for toxicity in the product is actually much more concentrated than petrol itself. Government has recently seized control of the operations of the clean up in the Gulf. But no one can move forward in operations without the guidance of experts in respective fields; Many of which, are still BP employees. More of the same has been said, and I may be parroting other(Much more insightful) minds. But here is something condensed to bring others up to speed.

    May 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Craig N. Barthelmas

      Subject: PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 10 May, 2010

      TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Here’s a contingency plan that has patented technology and a process that really works.

      1. We found a pre-processed material and developed an action plan that would have extracted up to 95% of the oil spill contaminants from seeded surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico, before it hit land fall.
      2. Our product is a, “Modified Oil Spill Environmental Sponge” dubbed M.O.S.E.S., it is a ¼” to ½” product that can be used to absorb oil contaminants from both “fresh water and salt water” surface oil spills. Our tests have concluded that one ton of product will absorb 125 gallons of oil in less than one hour. Simply put it will absorb approximately one half of its weight in oil. M.O.S.E.S. collects/absorbs oil not water. After saturation M.O.S.E.S. will only contain about 1.4% water. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to other kinds of wildlife including humans. A fifteen minute test will prove this process works.
      3. Our plan is full circle and includes staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
      4. Due to the urgencies to reduce the impact on the environment and the magnitude of this spill, our plan required partnering with the Coast Guard and other organizations that were already being used to provide staging, seeding and reclaim operations.
      5. Seeding operations were to be handled in essentially the same way they were being done, with minor and/or no modifications to airborne or aquatic equipment that would handle spreading ¼” to ½” particulates.
      6. Re-claim operations required the same booms, scoops, pumps and barge operations, that were being used.
      7. Re-processing operations proposed a permanent emissions free plant for processing oil, sand and other like materials into re-usable fuels and commodities. The plant would take approximately ninety to one hundred and fifty days to construct and would become a permanent part of a states fast action response to future oil spills.
      8. Our plan would have first, assisted with the on-going damage control operations in the gulf; second, it could have been put into operation within seven days; third, it would have become a $30,000,000.00 per year financial benefit to the communities that embraced staging and plant processing operations.
      9. This plan will greatly reduced the time and costs associated with this kind of oil spill in the future. We are confident that this type of pro-active plan would become a template for other high risk (oceanic) areas.
      So, why was this plan given no consideration at all? It is not a question of if another spill will happen, but when! The only excuses we have been able to come up with that, we are sure you are going to here are, as follows:
      a. BP, News Networks and Government Agencies didn’t have the time to consider a pro-active long term plan?
      b. We were crack pots when, this technology is patented and the product could be tested in fifteen minutes?
      c. BP has it under control as, they have done this before? Yes and, crazy is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results! We need to get past these smoke screens and prepare for future spills.
      Thank you for your time and consideration. We’d love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is listening.
      Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail: GE1RE22@aol.com

      May 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. robertsgt40

    Well, Duh. Great observation. Kinda like sayingafter Katrina, there may be flodding in low lying areas. The feds response in both cases is the same. Minimal. We're too busy fighting wars for empire to be bothered with domestic issues. There's no money in serving the taxpayer. BP's gonna walk on this one too. Any doubt who runs this country? Big Oil, Big Pharms, Big Banks, Wall Street. All this as we get the bill.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jim

    Please forgive my use of the word retarded but is it not retarded to leave the very people responsible for this disaster in what appears to be sole control?
    Your navy people must be ready to mutiny over their lack of involvement. Take your country back folks, you can trust your navy guys and gals.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Val EDF

    Environmental Defense Fund and Gulf of Mexico fishermen’s groups sent a letter to Congress and the President outlining several steps to help mitigate the devastating ecological and economic impacts of the spill. In addition to stopping the spill, they want the safest chemicals used, a rigorous clean up and testing for seafood safety, as well as assistance for the fishing communities impacted. Read the letter at http://blogs.edf.org/edfish/2010/05/24/gulf-fishermen-edf-request-100-million-to-help-fishing-communities-recover-from-oil-spill/

    May 26, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Paris

    The company that makes Corexit is owned by Goldman Sachs. I'm just sayin'...

    May 26, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. JD

    After 60 days of leakage, at a rate of oh lets say 8 million gallons per day and thats a guesstimate, you now have
    480 million gallons of oil that has ruined our natural resources. You think BP can clean this up? It will take decades,
    The federal Gov. is very sensitive on this issue because of political relations with the UK. The enviromental (mentally disturbed) will have a huge impact on the Gulf Coast. What happened to alternitive energy?

    Ive experienced here in Taiwan, a freightor that had leaked approx, 100,000 gallons of oil back in the early 90's.
    The beach was wickedly black, and you could still smell the stench of crude and contaniments. It was aweful , i got
    out of the water asap and alerted my Taiwanese friends. Luckily no one got sick, as we were just surfing, and not swimming. It was the worst beach, I'd ever been too. Won't ever go back, think about the Gulf Coast, as its 100 times more futile.

    June 20, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
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