A University of Florida study says recreational fishermen who normally fish in the Gulf of Mexico lost as much as $585 million from lost opportunities in 2010, the year of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and could be entitled to compensation.
After a disaster such as an oil spill, trustees, which could include federal, state or tribal authorities, often attempt to secure financial compensation from those responsible.
In the Gulf oil spill, those monies would not go back to individual fishermen, but might fund ecosystem improvements or to stock more fish in the Gulf on the fishermen's behalf, University of Florida food and resource economics professor Sherry Larkin said in a report at Science Daily.
In December 2012, BP agreed to pay $2.3 billion to commercial fishermen, seafood boat captains and crew, seafood vessel owners and oyster leaseholders, but trustees have yet to seek compensation on behalf of recreational fishermen.
"These are sizable losses borne by recreational users of publicly owned resources," said Larkin, an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member.
Because the oil spill affected thousands of square miles of fisheries, trustees could try to compensate for everyone who uses the Gulf in the future, Larkin said.
The study covers fishing areas off the coasts of Louisiana to Florida and up to North Carolina. It appeared online in July in the Journal of Environmental Management.