Charter fishing industry suffers as list of closed or restricted fishing areas grows and tourism declines as a result of continuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

MONTGOMERY, ALA. (June 11, 2010)  – Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. has filed a lawsuit against British Petroleum (“BP”) and several other companies with ties to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The firm represents Martin R. Cressey d/b/a Bohica Fishing Charters, a charter fishing guide, who has incurred damages related to the disaster, including loss of profits, business income, and earning capacity.

As oil continues to spew from the undersea well at estimated rates between 5,000 and 60,000 barrels per day, the list of areas in the Gulf of Mexico closed to commercial and charter fishing grows. The spill could not have come at a worse time, as the peak saltwater-fishing season along the Gulf Coast starts in March and continues throughout the summer. Bookings include private groups and fishing tournaments, both of which are seeing major cancellations as oil ruins what were prime fishing grounds. Even with some areas still open, visitors who might have booked a charter excursion are skittish due to fears that fish will be tainted by the spill.

“This is the worst possible time for a catastrophe like this, just at the beginning of peak fishing and tourist season along the Gulf Coast,” Rhon Jones, head of Beasley Allen’s Environmental Law section, said.  “The charter fishing industry is hit with a double-whammy. They are losing business because some areas are now off limits to fishing and they can’t take people there. Plus, bookings are down for the areas that are open because tourists and fishing tournaments are afraid of fumes and oily beaches and waters.”

The oil spill comes at what would normally be the beginning of the most profitable time for the Gulf Coast region, which traditionally collects almost 73 percent of its tourism revenues in the second and third quarters (April-September). Early estimates since the spill indicate tourism in the area may be down by 30 to 50 percent this summer.

The suit is filed in federal court in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on behalf of plaintiff Martin R. Cressey d/b/a Bohica Fishing Charters, and seeks damages for real and personal property, earning capacity, business income, and other damages related to the disaster. The suit alleges negligence and wanton misconduct. Defendants named in the suit are BP, Halliburton, and Cameron International.

Read the complaint.

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