May 21, 2010—Thick, heavy oil sludge from the damaged Deep Horizon well off Louisiana’s coastline has reached at least one area of the state’s wildlife-rich marshlands, according to a CNN report yesterday. This has left clean-up experts wondering how it able to bypass booms and other containment measures meant to keep it in open water.
It’s also the first visible evidence of the devastation in store for a highly sensitive ecosystem if further efforts to contain the slick are unsuccessful.
In related news, the American Sportfishing Association says the White house has asked Congress for additional money for oil-spill response, and has proposed removing the cap on damage payments BP, which owns the oil rig, may have to dole out.
“President Obama sent a $118 million legislative package to Congress asking for additional funds for oil spill response and to help speed assistance to people and businesses affected by the spill. As a result of ASA's discussions with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, ASA has been told that recreational fishing businesses will be included in the aid package. The aid package includes $15 million to compensate losses suffered by fishermen unable to get out on the water due to federal and state closures in the Gulf.
“The Office of Management and Budget assured NOAA that this amount will include the recreational fishing industry. Congress must first act on this request. At this time we are not aware of the time table for that action but ASA is asking for swift action…
“The White House proposal would also raise the cap on BP, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, could have to pay in damages. Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the cap on damages beyond clean-up costs is $75 million, although that cap can be waived if the company is found to have engaged in willful misconduct or violated federal safety rules.
“Legislation has already been proposed in both the Senate and House to increase the current limit of $75 million to $10 billion; however, the White House proposal does not specify a new cap but indicates this is an amount to be determined in Congress. BP has said the company will pay all legitimate claims, according to a White House fact sheet.”
May 17, 2010 - Despite the magnitude of the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) points out that most of the Gulf region’s fisheries are still open to anglers at this time.
“According to the oil spill response Joint Information Center and NOAA, the federal waters closed to recreational and commercial fishing is slightly more than 7 percent of the Gulf of Mexico. This means that 93 percent of the Gulf is open and available for fishing!” says ASA CEO Mike Nussman. “In fact, the vast majority of Gulf waters has not been affected by the oil spill and continues to support productive recreational fishing and tourism activities. State and local tourism and natural resource agencies’ websites clearly states that fishable waters are open and ready for business. What we don’t want – and can’t afford as a nation and as an industry - is economic collapse in the Gulf region as self-fulfilling prophesy.”
The ASA says it’s closely monitoring to ensure that recreational fishing and the fishing industry are accounted for as the process evolves. In the meantime, officials say the organization hasn’t lost sight of other angling threats, such as the potential closure of all bottom fishing in the South Atlantic.
May 13, 2010––If you’re like millions of other fishermen across the country, disbelief and anger may have been your initial reaction to news of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. With the toxic slick now reaching the fish- and wildlife-rich Louisiana marshlands, those feelings have likely turned to frustration and, worse yet, utter helplessness.
But actually, there is
a way for you and other anglers to chip in and help
, through the FishAmerica Foundation
. In 2005 FAF began to provide funding to help restore fisheries habitat and sportfishing facilities destroyed by hurricanes Katrina and Rita through a special Gulf Fund
. Recently the foundation announced that it will expand Gulf Fund grants to cover fisheries and habitat that are expected to be impacted by the oil spill.
Fishermen have a proud history of protecting and preserving America’s vital natural resources for future generations. Here’s your chance to jump in and lend a hand.
May 4, 2010, Venice, LA—As of press time, the massive oil slick off the Louisiana coast continues to grow and push toward shore, fed by a ruptured well that’s pumping out an estimated 210,000 gallons of crude daily. Meanwhile, southerly winds and bad weather have hindered efforts to keep the oil out of the area’s fragile marine estuary.
Officials say a viable solution to simply stem the flow of more oil is at least six days away, and even if the fix works, cleanup is expected to take years.
In response, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on May 2 that recreational and commercial fishing will be restricted for at least 10 days in federal waters between the mouth of the Mississippi River to Florida's Pensacola Bay (access a map of the closed area at www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100502_fisheries.html). The state of Louisiana has also closed select fishing areas; view those zones at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/news/?id=1799.
As many NAFC members know, the expanse of marsh surrounding Venice, Louisiana, is home to some of North America’s finest inshore fishing for redfish, seatrout and an array of other species. The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) has called upon federal and state officials to act swiftly to protect this vital resource.
"Recreational fishing contributes $41 billion dollars in economic output in the Gulf Coast region annually and supports over 300,000 jobs,” says ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “A disaster of this magnitude will certainly significantly impact the ability of anglers to get out on the water and for businesses to thrive. While the impact on recreational fisheries and wildlife is impossible to gauge at this time, everything must be done to clean up this massive spill and measures must be put in place to ensure that something like this does not happen again.”
NAFC friend Billy Nicholas, operator of Venice Fishing Lodge, has been at the front lines of the ongoing battle with the spill.
“I’m afraid it’s going to be devastating to the trout population—it’s a scary situation,” he says. “Our estuary is so rich that I think it will rebound, but it’s going to take a long time to recover.”
The spill began April 22, when the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sunk, leaving its well uncapped in approximately 5,000 feet of water.
The NAFC staff will continue to keep members apprised of the situation. We are posting updates on our Facebook page as well.