I am supplying an update on the status of commercial fishing claims in the BP litigation. Claimants have begun to receive Residual Distribution Determination Notices offering payment from the $520 million remaining in the Seafood Compensation Program (SCP) Fund.
The SCP fund, unlike other portions of the Deepwater Horizon Economic & Property Damages Settlement, is capped at $2.3 billion and has been distributed to claimants in three separate rounds. The first distribution paid approximately $1.2 billion to nearly 14,000 claimants and concluded in 2014 for a majority of these claimants. The second phase distributed $521 million between December 2014 and April 2016. The SCP will effectively close once payments are made in this final round during the next couple of months. It will be the third category, after real property sales and Vessels of Opportunity claims, to be fully completed, allowing the Settlement Program to turn its attention to other claims.
Fishermen all along the Gulf coast submitted 24,956 claims since the BP Settlement Program became operational in June 2012. This represents 6.5 percent of the total number of claims filed, which have paid $8.64 billion to date. Louisiana fishermen received 56 percent of the payments, compared to 19 percent for Florida, 11 percent for Texas, 7 percent for Mississippi and 6 percent for Alabama.
We are highly pleased to see these seafood claims finally coming to a close. The Gulf of Mexico’s pristine and bountiful fishing waters endured 87 days of oil gushing from the Macondo well, which made landfall all the way to Panama City, Fla. The use of dispersants such as Corexit also had a severe ecological impact, the extent of which may still not be known for years to come. Although these fishermen can never fully recover from their losses, payment of these claims is certainly a step in the right direction. If you need additional information, contact Ryan Kral, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Ryan.Kral@beasleyallen.com.
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