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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: Seafood may be unsafe; businesses remain uncompensated  (อ่าน 2138 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: สิงหาคม 05, 2010, 08:22:00 PM »


Gulf shrimp. Fishers say the Government depends a lot on smell tests to detect oil and dispersants in the Gulf. (Photo: E. Vance, EPA)

Seafood may be unsafe; businesses remain uncompensated

UNITED STATES
Thursday, August 05, 2010, 15:20 (GMT + 9)

Louisiana fishers can once more delve into the waters but are now fretting over the safety of their seafood.

State Governor Bobby Jindal on Monday said he wants fishers to return to work – and that BP ought to to fund a 20-year seafood testing and certification programme to safeguard the country’s reputation of Louisiana's commercial fishing industry.

Local fishers currently assert that the government is depending too much on smell tests to detect oil and dispersants in the Gulf, WAFB reports.

Meanwhile, although many seafood industry businesses remain open, they are struggling financially as a result of the BP oil spill. Said companies, though, are not being compensated by BP because they have not shut down.

For over a month, Pontchartrain Blue Crab Inc has operated in the red.

“We refuse to close because we are trying to be there when this turns around,” said owner Gary Bauer. “What we are afraid of is that we’re going to be penalized.”

“Many of our competitors closed their doors for good and they’re receiving benefits… We [business that remain open] have gotten minimal or no benefits whatsoever,” he explained.

Although complex tax codes have been partially blamed for the delay, business owners tell that BP’s staff turnover and closed door policies claims centers are exacerbating the problem.

Craig Borges, one of the owners of the New Orleans Fish House, agrees that the BP claims office needs to be refined for business that have remained open.

“Our business was built on Louisiana indigenous seafood,” Borges noted. “Because of the oil spill, we are not getting enough to supply our customers.”

His company is thus now importing oysters from Oregon, snapper from Costa Rica and salmon from Chile and Canada to satiate customer demand.
 
The increased expense is worth it for now to keep their customers, but the drop in profit margin is harming their bottom line. If assets such as trucks or processing plants have to be sold for the business to stay afloat, however, Borges wants compensation from BP for the losses.

Kimberly Chavin of Mariah Jade Shrimp Company also said she feels she is being punished for investing money in her business. This year before the oil spill, the company finished building its shrimp processing facility.

She made her claim in mid-May requesting gross income instead of net income from BP to counterbalance some of her major losses – but has not yet received any money.

“We had a niche market. We were going to do a lot of hand peeled product. When I told my claims adjuster that, his answer was ‘oh well’,” declared Chavin.

Related articles:

- US oil spill could destroy 100,000 jobs: experts
- Louisiana reopens commercial fishing
- Government reopens one-third of Gulf closed after oil spill

By Natalia Real
editorial@fis.com
www.fis.com

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