BP To Pay Florida $20 Million To Fund Seafood Inspections, Marketing Efforts In Wake Of Oil Spill

By: Jennifer Milton Email
By: Jennifer Milton Email

It's been 6 months since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and wreaked havoc in the Gulf of Mexico.

"It's really a tragedy what happened," said Ashley Ames.

Although oil never reached Florida's sunny shores, the perception that the seafood from the Gulf is no longer safe to eat has left hundreds of business owners with empty wallets.

"Really what we were dealing with is a consumer confidence problem here in Florida not necessarily a seafood safety problem," said DOACS Marketing Director Nelson Mongiovi.

Now the oil company responsible for the disaster has agreed to pay 20 million dollars to the state over the next three years to help get people to eat more creatures from under the sea.

"We have found no problems whatsoever with oil in Florida's seafood, either shellfish or fin-fish to date, but not knowing what may happen over the next few months or couple of years with tropical storms and that type of thing, we wanted to be prepared to keep that seafood testing going," said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson.

The cash will be split in half between seafood inspections and marketing efforts. But the people who live here question if BP is doing enough.

"It's not going to fix everything and I mean I think I'm still kind of outraged, I think a lot of people out here are still outraged, but it's a step in the right direction," said Ames.

State officials believe the agreement will boost commercial and recreational fishing and the restaurant industry as well as calm consumer's fears of ingesting harmful seafood.

BP is working on agreements with other Gulf states that were affected by the spill, but Florida was the first official state to sign the agreement.

If at any time over the next three years oil is discovered in our seafood, the three year payout starts from the beginning.

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