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Gulf Coast Shrimpers Offered Twice As Much to Settle BP Oil Spill Claims

By Rhonda Miller | Published 01 Dec 2011 11:19pm | comments
Anthony Pizzi, left, and his son, Dustin Pizzi, have had so little income from shrimping and oystering they've sold the big boat and put the little boat in drydock in their yard in Ocean Springs. Anthony Pizzi has been waiting so long for his BPclaim to be paid, he's had to turn off his electricity and move in with his son.

Mississippi shrimpers and crabbers are being offered more generous settlements from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. MPB’s Rhonda Miller has more.

Gulf Coast Claims Facility Administrator Kenneth Feinberg says shrimpers and crabbers can now get double the previous amounts offered for their loss of income caused by the BP oil spill.  Feinberg says the change is based on the unpredictable market for Gulf seafood.

"This decision to modify the formula for shrimpers and crabbers has absolutely nothing to do with the biological situation in the Gulf, the environmental situation, the fear that the shrimp might not be tasty, might not be edible, anything like that," says Feinberg. "To the contrary. All signs point to an environmental and biological recovery."

Feinberg says the rules were modified after carefully analyzing Gulf Coast tourism and sales tax revenues.

"This is a decision made based on the economy, on the financial uncertainty on the perception of saleable shrimp. That’s what this is designed to deal with," says Feinberg.

While higher payments may sound like good news, shrimper and oysterman Anthonoy Pizzi of Ocean Springs says he’s waited so long for his claim to be paid, he’s had to sell his boat, turn off his electricity and move in with his son.

“It’s a start, but if you haven’t received any money at all, it sounds like another lie from Feinberg and his office, because I call every day to find out about my claim and they say it’s still under review," says Pizzi.

Initial reaction to the news of the bigger payments is about the same in the Vietnamese fishing community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Annie Nguyen  works with Asian Americans for Change and says the fishermen would be happy to see the bigger payments come through from Feinberg..

"If he fulfills it, if he fulfills his promise," Nguyen says. "Many of these fishermen are very disappointed and lost trust in him because of the empty promises over and over.

Nguyen admits that fishermen who have been able to work out settlements with BP are not complaining to her.

Oystermen have already been offered the larger payments .

Images

Anthony Pizzi, left, and his son, Dustin Pizzi, have had so little income from shrimping and oystering they've sold the big boat and put the little boat in drydock in their yard in Ocean Springs. Anthony Pizzi has been waiting so long for his BPclaim to be paid, he's had to turn off his electricity and move in with his son.


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